dual personalities

Category: inspiration

“Go not to the Elves for counsel”*

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A good name is better than precious ointment;
and the day of death, than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting;
    for this is the end of all men,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
Surely oppression makes the wise man foolish,
and a bribe corrupts the mind.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick to anger,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money;
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God;
who can make straight what he has made crooked?

(Ecclesiastes 7: 1-13)

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“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

“Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.” –Bob Dylan

“Mark it, nuncle.
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest,
Leave thy drink and thy whore
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.”
― William Shakespeare, The Fool in King Lear (Act 1, scene 4)

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Be prepared.

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*J.R.R. Tolkien

“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)

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”*

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I know this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 
~ Philippians 1:19

Paul knew he could trust God to deliver him just as I know it. I take each day as it comes and am grateful for feeling pretty good and for being able go to work. I wish my eyebrows and eyelashes would come back in (not to mention the rest of my hair) but I am learning to be patient.

Sometimes, though, the seriousness of what I am going through hits me. When I went to see the radiologist this week and found out about the regimen I will be put through starting next week, I felt a little panicky. But I just keep breathing and believing that everything will be okay. Many years ago I learned a little trick that helps me a lot. I clasp my hands and imagine that one of them belongs to Jesus and that he is holding my hand. It has gotten me through many a dentist appointment in the past and now it is really helpful. Maybe this is childish, but it works for me.

And you know, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

So rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.

*Charles Spurgeon

The illustration is by Edward Bawden: Untitled landscape with sunset, 1927.

“Teach me some melodious sonnet”*

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Lottie is sure styling in her fall ensemble complete with jean jacket…

Another lovely fall weekend has flown by. There are a lot of leaves on the ground now, but even more are still on the trees. We will be raking/vacuuming leaves ’til Christmas around here.

Over the weekend the OM and I hung my latest eBay purchase, about which I am very pleased. I like to peruse eBay, but I have found that most things are overpriced compared to what you can find at estate sales and at auction houses. Nevertheless, I continue to search, because I enjoy it and because sometimes something worthwhile turns up.

Recently I found a mirror with églomisé reverse painted panel, purported to be a Bucks County “Federal mirror with historic history. Originally owned by Ulysses S. Grant’s Great Aunt & Uncle, Benjamin Hough and Hannah (Simpson) Hough.” The seller had all the genealogical info. 

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The mirror even has a brass plate dated August 24, 1791, the day Benjamin and Hannah married.

Well, hold the phone, Hannah is our great-great-great-great grandmother!

The price was too high so I put the mirror on my watch list and waited. Soon the seller made me an offer which I thought was reasonable and I bought it! We had a nice email exchange; she was happy to see it return to its family. She packed it well and it came to me unscathed.

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Well, I am pretty excited to have this piece of Hough family decorative art back in my family!

The boy and the wee babes came over for spaghetti Sunday night (daughter #3 had work to do on her side-hustle/Etsy shop).  The wee laddie was in a bad mood when he arrived (he had not been allowed to bring his steam shovel) and he proceeded to act badly, which finally landed him for the first time in Mamu’s Time Out. He got over it.

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This was not his time out chair! He was just keeping those micro cars from Lottie…

The babes are getting to be such little people with distinct personalities now that they are approaching three years of age! They really are nutballs.

IMG_4177 3.jpegWell, here’s a great old hymn for Tuesday. We sing it in the Episcopal Church but with an organ accompaniment. However, I do like this rendition.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is a hymn written by the 18th century pastor and hymnnodist Robert Robinson in 1757, but some things never get old.

Have a great week!

 

Our hearts are restless

Today is the feast day of Augustine of Hippo (354–430) on the Episcopal calendar.

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Lord God, the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant, Augustine of Hippo, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whose service is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Time to take down the Confessions from the shelf  for some mid-week inspiration I guess.

Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold,
Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee.
Thou was with me when I was not with Thee.
Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispell my blindness.
Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
For Thyself Thou hast made us,
and restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease.
Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new.
Thou hast burst my bonds asunder;
unto Thee will I offer up an offering of praise.

“For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”*

This weekend I plan to do nothing but rest.

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O heavenly Father, you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body: Grant me this gift, I pray; keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you; and give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.–BCP

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Both daughters #1 and #2 are moving to new apartments this weekend and I wish them well. I wish I could help. I will be thinking of them from my couch.

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

Just a reminder that the Book of Common Prayer is a wonderful source for good prayers!

And here’s a little end of the week inspiration from Casting Crowns–love this new song:

Have a good weekend!

(Paintings are by John Singer Sargent,  Jacques-Louis David and Hippolyte Berteaux

*Psalm 91:11

Party postcards

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Our mother was a great believer in having parties–small parties with family and a few friends maybe–but parties nonetheless. When we were little, there were usually favors. I tried to continue this tradition with my own family. It encourages celebrating the little things as well as the big things in life and helps everyone keep a positive outlook.

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So when Herman Melville’s 200 birthday was coming up, it just seemed liked a great excuse to have a party. We gave everyone plenty of notice to start reading Moby-Dick (or, okay, something shorter) and we started planning.

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We didn’t let a cancer diagnosis stop us. Daughters #1 and 2 took the reins, and by the time last weekend rolled around they had things well in hand. When DN arrived on Friday we were cooking with gas. Everything fell into place, although the caterers were late, but DN dealt with that, and when guests starting arriving, the Typee Punch was ready to go…

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We toasted the great Melville and then ate dinner.

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We gathered again to listen to the great Gary play hornpipes on his mandolin…IMG_0996.jpeg

And then almost everybody read their own Melville selection, which represented a variety from Billy Budd and Bartleby to The Confidence Man and, of course, Moby-Dick. No one had chosen the same thing to read. DN read from a Melville essay about Hawthorne which included the often quoted “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” in context which I loved.

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Our favorite Method Actor channels Stubb killing a whale

I think everyone had fun and I was flattered that my friends had humored me in my whimsy. And a few people went outside their comfort zones and read some Melville!

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Huzzah. It takes very little, to have a lot of fun.

So keep reading…and keep celebrating!

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And there were favors!

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Nobody had more class than Melville. To do what he did in Moby-Dick, to tell a story and to risk putting so much material into it. If you could weigh a book, I don’t know any book that would be more full. It’s more full than War and Peace or Brothers Karamasov. It has Saint Elmo’s fire, and great whales, and grand arguments between heroes, and secret passions. It risks wandering far, far out into the globe. Melville took on the whole world, saw it all in a vision, and risked everything in prose that sings.  You have a sense from the very beginning that Melville had a vision in his mind of what this book was going to look like, and he trusted himself to follow through all the way. (–Ken Kesey, interviewed in “Ken Kesey, The Art of Fiction No. 136” by Robert Faggen in The Paris Review No. 130 (Spring 1994)

Mid-week inspiration

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Most loving Father, who willest us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of thee, and to cast all our care on thee who carest for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which thou hast manifested unto us in thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright (1824–1901), English ecclesiastical historian and Anglican priest

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”
― Norman Vincent Peale

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” –Oswald Chambers

“Ultimately the only answer God gave to Job was a revelation of Himself. It was as if God said to him, “Job, I am your answer.” Job was not asked to trust a plan but a person, a personal God who is sovereign, wise, and good. It was as if God said to Job: “Learn who I am. When you know me, you know enough to handle anything.”
― R.C. Sproul, Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

–Psalm 116:7 (NIV)

 

Troubles and trials

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John Charles Ryle (May 10, 1816 – June 10, 1900) was an English evangelical Anglican bishop. Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism.  Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century(1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 volumes, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition.

(And a little inspiration from Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs and Dolly Parton, “Green Pastures”)

Jesus take the wheel*

Well, I got some hard news last month. I have cancer and will have surgery tomorrow. We have been through this in my family quite recently with the boy and now it is my turn. I hope I can handle it all with as much grace and confidence as he did.

This article from the desiringGod.org website

was very helpful to me and Piper/Powlison even refer to a favorite prayer of mine–what we call in the Episcopal Church, Saint Patrick’s breastplate:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

In the meantime my DP will continue with the blog while I recover, ably supported by daughters #1 and #2 who have pledged to fill in along with DN. So keep checking in!

And keep me in your prayers please.

I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

*Brett James / Gordon Sampson / Hillary Lindsey for Carrie Underwood