dual personalities

Tag: family

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God”*

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On Friday I forgot to wish daughter #2 a happy birthday–which was on Saturday. She is coming home on Thursday to celebrate both our birthdays next weekend, so I am focused on that, and so I forgot! Mea culpa. Love you a lot.

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 7.48.33 PM.pngMy weekend was a good one, full of good friends, good estate sales and good old movies, including the politically incorrect, but hilarious, Gunga Din (1939)–continuing my Cary Grant thread.

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 2.57.15 PM.pngI read the first lesson at church, a great section from Acts, ending with Peter’s exhortation to “Repent therefore, and turn to God“–I mean how many times a day do you get to say that? (Not nearly enough, although I frequently wish I could.)

On the other hand, the second reader got every other word wrong and stumbled through the entire thing. Carla and I promised to tell each other, when the time comes, that we need to stop reading. Sigh.

The OM and I dined at Steak ‘N Shake on Saturday and hosted the wee babes and their parents on Sunday night. The babes ate spaghetti and peanut butter and jelly and were happy campers.

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Oh, hi, Aunt Susie, Uncle Nate. How’s it going?

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I was sorry to hear about Barbara Bush, who is my mother’s age. I’m with Nikki Haley.

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A classy lady.

*I John 3:1

Stuff

Design Sponge had a story recently on 10 Family Heirlooms That Tell Stories. This got me thinking, because, of course, we have often written on the subject of liking our “old stuff,” our “heirlooms,” and the importance of telling our children stories about their families and bringing them up to appreciate their histories and, well, “old stuff.”

Clearly not everyone feels this way. But I even like other people’s old stuff and that is why I go to estate sales and like to think of myself rescuing old needlepoint pillows and even old plants. (Leave it to me to ascribe heroic intent to this activity.)

But I love my old stuff and I think my children appreciate it.

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Enjoy your home, I say. Enjoy your things. After a long, stressful day at the salt mine, isn’t it nice to come home? Yes, it is.

For it’s root, root, root for the home team

I know you’ve been wondering if my spy was down in Florida this year scoping out the Cardinals…

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…and taking pictures of Big Mike for me. Well, yes, he was.

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Good job. Much appreciated!

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Our season finally opens on Sunday against those Cubs. It’s about time!

Meanwhile, hopefully we’ll see our adorable grandkids this weekend, no doubt sporting new redbird outfits.

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(The little guy doesn’t look so sure about joining his sis at home. It was quiet in the NICU.)

I will otherwise be engaged in recovering from last weekend and this week at work. How about you?

Have a good weekend. Onward to April!

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: Open our eyes to see, with thy servant John Donne, that whatsoever hath any being is a mirror in which we may behold thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Collect for John Donne, 1631, who is commemorated today on the Episcopal calendar)

A bushel and a peck

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Here’s a snapshot I found of our older brother when he was a few months old in 1951. Our mother’s younger sister is holding him. He was born a little early and only weighed about 5 lbs. He looks a little stressed. (Note furrowed brow.)

But look at the bouncing baby boy a few months later!

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Babies.

Day by day

Happy MLK Day and, if you are lucky enough to be home like I am, I hope you are enjoying your day off.

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That’s ice on the trees…

In fact, this has turned out to be a very nice four-day weekend for me, because we had a “snow day” on Friday due to the ice storm here in flyover country. I stayed home for two days puttering around and re-organizing drawers and shelves and closets.

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By Sunday morning the storm was pretty much over. I went to church and was surprised by how many people were there. The OM said they were probably stir crazy and just wanted to get out of the house. Well, maybe.

After church we went to lunch and then to the hospital to see the wee babes and their parents who were kangarooing as they do every day (even during the ice storm).

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We watched Sully (2016) over the weekend and liked it a lot. Tom Hanks was just right as the remarkable pilot who landed the plane on the Hudson River without a single loss of life back in 2009. I think the movie could have used a little more backstory, but I won’t quibble. It was good.

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I cannot say the same for the much heralded Manchester By the Sea (2016) which I did not like.

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Bad things happen in life, terrible things, but this movie seems to say that all of life is just a long, sad, hopeless journey and then you die. The characters in this movie are uniformly unable to express their feelings, much less talk without use of the F-word in every sentence. After the movie the OM and I both wondered what the writer/director was trying to say. I just didn’t get this movie.

Well, today I am going to enjoy my day off as the temperatures continue to climb and the ice melts. And I will continue to believe that life has meaning.

The question is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak — even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys. We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fullness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement. But be not affeard, says Caliban, nor is he the only one to say it. “Be not afraid,” says another, “for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.

–Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey 

The Lord bless you and keep you

…the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

And a happy 2017 to you!

Well, it was a busy week here in flyover country–here are a couple of postcards from my week off with daughters # 1 and 2. We went to Ikea with the boy…

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…and sat in front of a roaring fire…

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admiring our trees…

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…took long walks around the neighborhood…

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…and had a (semi) rockin’ New Year’s Eve party…

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I even went to church on New Year’s Day, following our party, because I had traded with another lay reader in a moment of spontaneous generosity. Then when I got there it turned out she had been wrong in the first place and there were three other people all set to read. Well, I stayed, readers, and was okay with it. Starting off the new year at church isn’t a bad idea…

…especially when it is followed by a movie binge-watching New Year’s Day afternoon/evening! We watched Singin’ In the Rain (1952) in memory of Debbie Reynolds,

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along with Best In Show (2000), 21 Jump Street, (2012) and Pillow Talk (1959).

Tomorrow it’s back to the salt mines.

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Now I just have to take down the trees. Sigh. Have a good last day off!

You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white, But I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas

Today is Blue Christmas, also called the Longest Night in the Western Christian tradition, a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year. On this day, some churches hold a church service that honors people who have lost loved ones in that year.

I was unaware of this “tradition,” but it is easy to understand how easy it is for people to get especially sad at this time of year. Those long, dark nights are so depressing and we miss our loved ones. Sigh.

Listening to Elvis sing “Blue Christmas” would make us all feel better, but WordPress would not let me upload video, so you will just have to imagine him singing in your head.

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Another way to cheer up is to stare at your tree and look at all the pretty ornaments that you have collected over the years. Sometimes this leads to thinking about how ancient you have become (along with your “vintage” ornaments) but c’est la vie.

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It may also bring you joy to get busy wrapping all those presents you have gotten for friends and family, because, you know, it is better to give than to receive.

On the other hand, I have given some real flops (or “boners” as we call them) in my day and that is always a depressing reality of Christmas. Expectations are always in the stratosphere around 12/25 and they are bound to be grounded at some point.

Well, try to “think positive” and count your blessings. Daughter #2 is keeping me company and my spirits up at work. And who doesn’t love a poinsettia?

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Have a good Wednesday!

Yea, amen! let all adore thee*

It was a busy week. Daughter #2 came home and between going to work, trips to the NICU at the hospital and an ice storm, we managed to trim the big tree

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and watch Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). We even made several fires in the fireplace without the aid of our Eagle Scout who did come and help us wrangle the tree into the tree stand. Merci beaucoup.

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Daughter #2 graded 29 papers and the OM gassed up the cars.

We went to church yesterday, the fourth Sunday in Advent, and sang the rest of the advent hymns. The rector gave us all high fives for showing up. In fact, a lot of churches were closed because of the weather and very cold temperatures. This is a new thing. On Saturday night you see the names of church closings scrolling on the bottom of your television screen, just like school closings during the week. [Insert eye roll here.] Please.

Today we will go back to work for a few days and visit the hospital and get ready for daughter #1’s arrival on Friday. And we will “rejoice! rejoice!” because, you know, “Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”

Have a good week and stay calm.

*Hymn 57, Charles Wesley

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”*

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We were thrown for a loop when daughter #3 was checked into the hospital last Wednesday and then again when she was moved to a bigger hospital with a super-duper micro-preemie unit the next day. We thought she would just be on “bed-rest” for the duration of her high-risk pregnancy, but she delivered the twins on Sunday.

They are tiny, tiny, but breathing on their own. Please pray hard for our little boy and little girl.

Many years ago my spiritual director taught me a prayer for those times words escape you:

Jesus, [insert name], Jesus.

I have used it a lot.

*Genesis 28:15

Photo from Pinterest

“I see The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee”*

wrc-2Today the boy turns 30!

His birthday is all the sweeter because he is a cancer survivor and a papa-to-be. Here’s hoping 2017 will be a fabulous year for the boy.

P.S. I may refer to my son as “the boy,” but he is sure enough a man.

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(But those baby pictures sure are cute.)

*Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)–Read the whole thing here.