dual personalities

Category: gratitude

“The morning stars sang together”

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To make suggests making something out of something the way a carpenter makes wooden boxes out of wood. To create suggests making something out of nothing the way an artist makes paintings or poems. It is true that artists, like carpenters, have to use something else—paint, words—but the beauty or meaning they make is different from the material they make it out of. To create is to make something essentially new.

When God created the creation, God made something where before there had been nothing, and as the author of the book of Job puts it, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (38:7) at the sheer and shimmering novelty of the thing. “New every morning is the love / Our wakening and uprising prove” says the hymn. Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire, and water, every twenty-four hours God creates something new out of them. If you think you’re seeing the same show all over again seven times a week, you’re crazy. Every morning you wake up to something that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again either.

-Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

The days seem to blend together, but we must be careful that we don’t look at them that way. Each day is a wonderful gift, isn’t it? My days at work are long but pleasant. I am grateful to have the stamina to stay all day. Evenings at home, after changing into my evening loungeware, are warm and comfortable. At the end of the day I am happy to climb into my cozy bed, read for a little while and then sleep through the night.

Sometimes, like this past Tuesday, the day goes against routine. The wee laddie came over after work and stayed with us while Lottiebelle went to her dance class. For awhile he and I picked up sticks in the front yard and gathered gumballs.

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 7.18.43 PM.pngThis was great fun and the little bud was very proud of his skills. We looked at the daffodils that are coming up and at the forsythia bushes which are budding. Everything is exciting and new when you are with a three year-old. After coming inside, we watched truck videos until daughter #3 came to pick him up.

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 7.27.29 PM.pngThis weekend I am going to a workshop for lay readers and to a couple of estate sales. I’m going to organize my closet and look at my spring clothes. I’m going to get things ready at home for daughter #2’s arrival next week. (She’s coming into town for a baby shower!)

Have a good weekend!

“What God may hereafter require of you, you must not give yourself the least trouble about. Everything He gives you to do, you must do as well as ever you can, and that is the best possible preparation for what He may want you to do next. If people would but do what they have to do, they would always find themselves ready for what came next.”
― George MacDonald

The painting is by Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Morning, 1950

“So lift your head and keep singing/ Praise the Lord”

As of this morning, I only have two more radiation treatments! I should be finished next week on Tuesday. Praise the Lord. 🙏🙏🙏

Earlier in the week a friend from my former church gave me a prayer shawl which she had made. They have a Knitting Ministry at this church–their mission being “to offer fellow parishioners and friends tangible and spiritual love, comfort and prayers through the knitted objects that they make–Mantles of Comfort, Baby Blankets of Love and Chemo Caps.” I was touched to receive this mantle of comfort. I do feel “uplifted and affirmed.”

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Sunday is our mother’s birthday (along with Dolly Parton and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I thought I would feature this photo of her and my older brother from the Worcester Sunday Telegram in 1954.

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These days I am am looking a lot like my 3-year old brother here. At least my eyebrows and eyelashes have started to come back. Praise the Lord. 🙏🙏🙏

Thankfully the weekend is upon us. We are probably in for more bad weather, but in the words of the Puritan Anne Bradstreet, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

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I’m in.

*Mat Maher

“O come, O Bright and Morning Star, and bring us comfort from afar!”*

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Well, we have had a lovely relaxed time, taking it easy over the Christmas holiday. Since daughter #2 and DN left last Friday…

Unknown-3.jpeg…we have eased into our leisure time, going to lunch at some of our off-the-beaten-track favorites, like the Fiddlehead Fern restaurant…

IMG_0644.jpeg…taking afternoon naps, followed by a late afternoon glass of wine in front of the fire…

Unknown.jpeg…and watching movies…

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On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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The OM was in complete and utter hog heaven watching this movie. I really enjoyed it too.

I also went to the funeral of my dear friend Ruby. Daughter #1 kindly drove me to St. Charles, Missouri across the river where we found her Episcopal Church next to the campus of Lindenwood University. It was packed, because, of course, she was a devoted and active member. The service, which she had specified down to the last detail and saved in her safe deposit box, was Rite I and Rite II (the communion) and included her favorite hymns. It was lovely and nearly two hours long. Her ashes were buried afterwards in the memorial garden of the church, but not in a niche–in the ground. We all threw some dirt on top of her ashes (half of which are going to Wyoming) which I had never done before. I found it to be very meaningful.

Ruby was born and raised in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas and she loved the wide open sky there.

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The Flint Hills, photo from National Geographic

She would get choked up talking about it. Several of her hymns reflected that:

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator’s power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

–Joseph Addison, hymn #409

Anyway, her funeral was a true reflection of Ruby, which is as it should be. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Meanwhile, I was back at work Monday to check on things and go through 150 emails…Today we get ready to celebrate the new year: 2020! Can you believe it? Twenty years into the 21st century!

Then it’s back to the salt mine for real on Thursday. Speaking of salt mines, this made me laugh.

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Happy New Year! Make good choices!

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*John Mason Neale (1851)

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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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.

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep/ I count my blessings instead of sheep”*

 

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Well, Thanksgiving was great fun.

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We celebrated the boy’s birthday…

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Just try to take a picture of these nutballs without blurring!

and had a dance party,

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ate a delicious meal,

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and watched our favorite Thanksgiving movie.

And now it is time to switch gears. Advent starts on Sunday! Here’s a new idea:

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This sounds like a good idea to me! Let’s do it!

*Irving Berlin

Humble and hearty thanks

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

– 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NIV)

We have a lot to be thankful for! For instance, I was glad to see that they are still making Thanksgiving art projects (in pre-school) using a handprint as the basis for a turkey.

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I am grateful that the OM and I can make an evening out of a take-out dinner and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)–which we did last weekend.  Who needs a night on the town? Not us.

I am grateful that I have been able to do the lion’s share of my Christmas shopping online this year, because I have barely been in a store in the last six months! However, I plan to “shop local” this Saturday to support our local economy. I know retailers need that. The boy will be putting in a lot of hours this weekend at his small business!

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Speaking of the boy, I am thankful that we will be celebrating his birthday on Thanksgiving! He was born on the day after Thanksgiving 33 years ago–before the day was universally referred to as Black Friday.

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He has been through a lot in his 33 years…

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…but he knows that adversity builds character.

I am thankful that two out of three of my children will be home for Thanksgiving and that we will enjoy a delicious meal followed by yummy pie and our annual viewing of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987). (Daughter #2 will be far away but well taken care of.)

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I am thankful that I don’t have to travel anywhere this week.

Although I am thankful for my job and all those I work with, I am also thankful to have a few days off from that job! I will be well rested (I hope) when I start my radiation treatments (28!) after this weekend. I am thankful for those too, right? Yes, I am.

ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, We thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks For all thy goodness and loving-kindness To us, and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; But above all, for thine inestimable love In the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; For the means of grace, And for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, That our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, And that we show forth thy praise, Not only with our lips, but in our lives; By giving up ourselves to thy service, And by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

–BCP, A General Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s playing at the Roxy?*

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Oh boy. It’s Friday.

It’s been an exciting week in Missouri. We had a snow day and a meteorite fell to earth.

In the Episcopal Church we celebrated the lesser feast day of Charles Simeon (1759–1836) who was an English evangelical clergyman. This article by John Piper is interesting.

We all need help here. We are surrounded by, and are part of, a society of emotionally fragile quitters. The spirit of the age is too much in us. We need to spend time with the kind of people whose lives prove there is another way to live. Scripture says, be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12). So I want to hold up for us the faith and patient endurance of Charles Simeon for our inspiration and imitation.

And Disney gave us fair warning…Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 2.59.05 PM.png

Thanks, Disney.

And FYI today is America Recycles Day (ARD)! It is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. My mother was a recycler. It just seemed logical to her. And her puritan soul did not like waste. I would have to agree. As you know, I buy a lot of recycled items–they’re called antiques! (Vintage is okay too…)

My weekend will be a quiet one and that is okay with me. I will catch up with my reading…

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…do some “desk work” and putter around…

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The usual.

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How about you?

*Guys and Dolls

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

We thank thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls who saw visions of larger truths and dared to declare them; for the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller life with thee. Accept this our thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, to whom be praise and dominion for ever.

–Kendall Harmon, A prayer for All Saints Day

So Halloween and All Saints Day have come and gone and we are on the downward slide to the end of the year! Zut alors, the year has sped by.

We had a lovely weekend visit from daughter #2 all the way from Maryland. She went with me to my weekly chemo session…

Screen Shot 2019-11-04 at 4.30.56 PM.png…and we managed to do some of our favorite things as well. Daughter #1 joined us from mid-MO and we went to estate sales…

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…and went out to lunch. We frolicked with the wee babes…

IMG_3774.jpegIMG_3769.jpegWe watched Spy (2015), which we still think is hilarious,

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and a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie starring Jodie Sweetin which was part of the Countdown to Christmas. (Yikes.)

Screen Shot 2019-11-04 at 4.39.23 PM.pngAnd daughter #2 made her famous macaroni and cheese. In addition, we gave each other foot spa treatments and sat around and talked and talked. And went to bed early.

Nothing better, am I right?

It was a good start to November which is a month when we like to consider how much we have to be thankful for, including these guys.

Enjoy your week!

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”*

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We had a very quiet Halloween, as we usually do, but it was even more so since it was freezing cold here in flyover country. Literally freezing! There were snow flurries in the morning!

Luckily this had no impact on daughter #2 arriving on time from Maryland. 🙌🙌🙌 She arrived and then the wee babes dropped by after school to show us their Halloween costumes.

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They got to wear their costumes at school.

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They were the cutest little Triceratops ever. (Daughter #3 made the costumes. She has mad skills.)

Lest we forget, yesterday was also Reformation Day, when we celebrate Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, which provoked a debate that culminated finally in the Protestant Reformation.Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 9.03.08 PM.png

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

And now I will concentrate on the simple joy of having all my children home for the weekend. Everyone will be over on Saturday night for a little party and what is better than that? (Okay, we wish DN were here, but we will toast absent friends.)

*Psalm 150:6