dual personalities

Tag: gratitude

We thine unworthy servants

This is a picture of pure joy (accompanied by a lot of screaming.)

I’ve been trying to think (once again) of all the things for which I give my “most humble and hearty thanks” and they are, indeed, many.

Besides the obvious and deeply felt ones like my family, no one being on chemotherapy, having a roof over my head and food on the table (our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life)…

I would add, my silver hair.

Lottie says, “Why can’t we go inside? I’m hoooooooot.”

I am so grateful my hair grew back (and some semblance of my eyebrows) and I am happy to be silver-haired and looking my age.

I am thankful for God’s green earth and all the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit it.

According to this Woolly Worm on the driveway and the Farmer’s Almanac, it should be a mild winter here in my neck of the flyover woods.

I am happy the weather is cooling off and fall will be here soon. Fall is a favorite season. I always loved going back to school. Going back to school when classes are online, is not the same, but, nevertheless, we thank God for the opportunity to do so. Anyway, I have opened up some windows and sleeping has been very nice.

I am also grateful for being able to hop in my Cooper and take a drive when I am going beserk from being home all. the. time.

The OM has filled my gas tank twice in the last six months. No, I have not driven much–but on Sunday I drove to Lowe’s and bought some new indoor plants. We do what we have to do.

So 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 our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days.

And this was a surprise, but not a surprise.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32) 

“It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there”*

I’ve had a long week of back-to-work activities. Zut alors! I’m still at home.

I thought this was interesting, written by a fellow Episcopalian.

God has made us know what we always sorta knew: that we are not in charge, no matter how much we take charge of what God has left for us to do. 

Indeed, we are not in charge. Sometimes I guess we need to be hit over the head to be reminded. But I choose to believe that all is not chaos and that God is in control. This helps me persevere.

I also try to keep things in perspective and stay grateful. We have much for which to be grateful, don’t we?

Our families, for one thing, far-flung as they may be. They keep us close in their hearts, as we do them. My niece sent me this video because she thought I might like it (and I do, of course)…

Our friends who stand by us…

Our churches, such as they are, even the virtual ones.

@thebabylonbee

We have our memories of summers past…

…and visions of the future…

I am grateful for good work to do even if I have to do it in an upstairs guest bedroom/office…

Keep being grateful and thanking God for whatever comes next. We can handle it. Have a good weekend!

“Be cheerful—the problems that worry us most are those that never arrive.”—Benjamin Franklin

*Bob Dylan

Natural circumstances and the perversity of human will

Another week almost gone with the wind. They do go by. I had a busy week “at work” and I went to a Vestry meeting. Yes, the Vestry meeting was actually at church, in Albright Hall, where we sat 6 feet apart and wore masks. It was a little ridiculous, but at least we were together all in one place. It felt kind of normal. We are the only Episcopal Church in the diocese that is meeting together on Sunday and I am proud of our Rector who is jumping through a lot of hoops to do this. I have a feeling there are many ministers/priests who are sleeping through this period and glad of the excused absence.

I liked Paul Walker’s daily devotion (from Charlottesville) the other day, which read in part:

I also went to the dentist (high fives all around) and drove to pick up a Victorian chair I won on the online auction held at our local auction house. It is a needlepoint rescue and nothing special, but it felt good to be back in the game.

Of course, there has been much FaceTiming and cooing over our sweet Katiebelle. She has changed so much in her first week!

And look how confident DN is getting compared to 3 years ago when he practiced holding the wee babes.

The wee babes at six months are about the same size as Katiebelle at one week!

Meanwhile the OM and I have been watching The Last Ship, a series on Hulu that was originally aired on TNT back in 2014, about the crew of a U.S. naval destroyer that is forced to confront the reality of a new existence when a pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population. Timely, right? It stars Eric Dane and Adam Baldwin. We are enjoying it and I recommend it if you are in the mood for an action series that has some depth to it. And the leads are handsome.

We also watched 49th Parallel (1941), a British war film made by the Pressburger/Powell team with the help of Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier and Raymond Massey to help sway American opinion in favor of joining the war effort. It is pretty good and maybe it was considered tough stuff back then, but the Canadians seemed rather dim-witted and trusting next to the dirty Nazis who are trying to escape the RMP. I guess that was the point.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

Have a good weekend!

“Let the ‘amen’ sound from His people again”*

Sometimes we get caught up in all the things that are wrong with the world. And there are plenty. Like this. Sigh.

But we must remind ourselves how blessed we really are every day.

This past weekend I spent a  lot of time puttering around my house, taking stock of what I have squirreled away for Christmas and what I still need to get. I found the Christmas cards I bought after Christmas last year–that sort of thing.

I talked to my daughters and dual personality on the phone. The OM and I had dinner with some old friends. Indeed, it was a quiet weekend.

We watched The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) which never ceases to amuse me.

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The OM and I in a few years

We also watched Edge of Darkness (1943) a war movie about a small Norwegian fishing village rising up and revolting against the occupying Nazis.

Partisans dig their own graves in "The Edge of Darkness"

Partisans dig their own graves in “The Edge of Darkness”

It was surprisingly edgy and well done I thought. I mean it is blatantly propagandistic and the sets are terrible, but dreamy Errol Flynn is ably supported by a good ensemble cast and you have to love a movie where the peaceful town minister comes through in a way that would make the Sons of Anarchy proud.

Anyway, I am counting my blessings this week and always.

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Some leaves are still hanging on in the ‘hood.

I am thankful for TCM and our DVR, not to mention Netflix and streaming cable television shows. I am thankful for old friends and good books and Coffee Nips and red wine. I am thankful for my laptop and online shopping and Christmas cactus and being able to turn the heat on when the temperatures go down. I am thankful for being able to go down to the basement and do my laundry when I want to and that we could just go out and buy a new refrigerator when the old one conked out last week. These are things I do not take for granted.

Have a good week–only 2 1/2 days of work–and don’t forget to count your blessings!

*Joachim Neander,  hymn #390 “Praise to the Lord the Almighty”

O friends, in gladness let us sing, supernal anthems echoing*

[FYI supernal means a) being or coming from on high b) heavenly, ethereal.]

I went to church twice on Sunday so I am feeling the supernal vibe. I read at Evensong, but I had to go to a meeting after the 10 a.m. service, so that is why I also attended that service. I am “mentoring” one of our confirmands, so I was getting the lowdown on expectations for the coming year. My assignment is a girl I have known since she was a tiny tot and not someone who is too cool for me. No piercings or dyed black hair either. All should will be well.

The boy came over after church and knocked down an old fence for us.

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The OM and I would have wrestled with this for who knows how long, so once again, how grateful we are to have his manly help.

It took him all of 10 minutes, so we went out to lunch at Steak ‘N Shake.

On Friday night the OM and I went to a work-sponsored party at the zoo. I got to see the new polar bear in his swanky new environment.

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He growled at me through the glass. He was up-close and personal, right? I wanted to see him swimming, but he did not oblige.

We also saw some penguins

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and we rode on the empty train.

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We ate a hotdog and went home. It was an evening well spent.

I am reading the new mystery by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)–The Silkworm, which I am enjoying very much.  I am not a big mystery fan, but the characters in her series are real (not cardboard) and I like her P.D., Cormoran Strike.

I watched Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), which I did not particularly like, and Send Me No Flowers (1964) with Rock Hudson (“Is it a sharp pain, is it a dull pain, or does it grip like a vice?”), which I liked very much.

Also, this is pretty darn great:

How was your weekend?

*Lasst uns erfreuen, #618

Loaves and fishes

 

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I went to two memorial services in three days.

Mamu’s was a high requiem eucharist service for the repose of her soul with full choir and all the bells and whistles.

The other was for a work friend–a secular service with ten speakers extolling her impressive life. There was no religious element save the singing at the end of “Amazing Grace”, which seemed all the sadder for the evident lack of faith of the deceased. Twenty years of Catholic school sometimes has that effect.

We sang “Abide With Me” at Mamu’s service and that about undid me. What is it about hymns? Something about the familiar (sad) music and the words, I guess. It made me want to run home and watch Shane (1953)–I didn’t (but I did later on Sunday).

At church on Sunday we were reminded that it is that time of year again when we all collect money for the United Thank Offering in what we use to call our “mite” boxes.

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I brought one home and I intend to fill it up while counting my blessings.

It is a good spiritual practice to count your blessings. Are you in the habit of doing that?

Here are some wise words from Thomas a Kempis (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471), whose feast day was last Friday:

“As long as you live, you will be subject to change, whether you will it or not – now glad, now sorrowful; now pleased, now displeased; now devout, now undevout; now vigorous, now slothful; now gloomy, now merry. But a wise man who is well taught in spiritual labor stands unshaken in all such things, and heeds little what he feels, or from what side the wind of instability blows.”

Have a good Monday!

Merci Beaucoup

My dual personality’s post yesterday so captured my imagination that I was instantly tempted to continue the pet peeve theme today. I can’t deny that I have plenty of them. I can get really, really annoyed by women who toss their paper towels carelessly on the floor of the bathroom, guys who spit on the carpet,  colleagues who feel superior to benighted fools who actually believe in God, and people at church who loudly alter personal pronouns and change Father to Creator in hymns and prayers. Okay, yes, I could go on and on. But I won’t, because it occurred to me that this habitually negative dual personality (most unlike her sister in this respect) could use an exercise in gratitude. Also, with Thanksgiving  looming, gratitude is seasonally appropriate. Leaving aside the obvious ones like family, friends, God, country, and health, here we go in no particular order.

1. Touch. The feel of warm blankets and sheepskin. I live in the North Country and we keep the house chilly or, more accurately, the house keeps cold whether we like it or not. But if you can get tucked up cozy warm, a fine rest awaits.

Tim fast asleep in front of the fire at our camp

Tim fast asleep in front of the fire at our camp

2. The sight and sound of the seasons (so much alliteration!). I love to hear migrating geese honk and watch their wavering Vs as they fly overhead.

Snow Geese. Photo from Northcountrynow.com

Snow Geese in flight. Photo from Northcountrynow.com

3. Words. They’re like friends or favorite authors. It’s as wonderful to find new ones as it is to rediscover those with which we have lost touch.

Gormenghast…Withdrawn and ruinous it broods in umbra: the immemorial masonry: the towers, the tracts. Is all corroding? No. Through an avenue of spires a zephyr floats; a bird whistles; a freshet beats away from a choked river. Deep in a fist of stone a doll’s hand wriggles, warm rebellious on the frozen palm. A shadow shifts its length. A spider stirs… And darkness winds between the characters. (Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast)

4. Smell. Fresh bread, cookies baking, a wood fire…

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5. Taste. Really good coffee or tea; excellent cheese; a fine glass of red wine…and, yes, my latest addiction, gum drops.

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6. Music. What would we do without it? Even German heavy metal has it’s place, right boys?

but if you’re feeling less Teutonic, you might want to try this blast from the past I recently rediscovered

Surprise, surprise…I have discovered that I can more easily come up with things to be grateful for than I can things that annoy me! There’s hope for me after all. Now I feel ready to start my work day. I’ll be writing, so wish me fluency and the ability to formulate my argument well.

Have a great and grateful weekend!

Rest and be thankful

restand be thankful

XIII. “REST AND BE THANKFUL!”
AT THE HEAD OF GLENCROE

Doubling and doubling with laborious walk,
Who, that has gained at length the wished-for Height,
This brief this simple wayside Call can slight,
And rests not thankful? Whether cheered by talk
With some loved friend, or by the unseen hawk
Whistling to clouds and sky-born streams that shine,
At the sun’s outbreak, as with light divine,
Ere they descend to nourish root and stalk
Of valley flowers. Nor, while the limbs repose,
Will we forget that, as the fowl can keep
Absolute stillness, poised aloft in air,
And fishes front, unmoved, the torrent’s sweep,–
So may the Soul, through powers that Faith bestows,
Win rest, and ease, and peace, with bliss that Angels share.

–Composed by William Wordsworth during a tour in Scotland and on the English border in the autumn of 1831

“Rest and be thankful” are the words inscribed on a stone near the junction of the A83 and the B828, placed there by soldiers who built the original military road in 1753, now referred to as the Drovers’ road. The original stone fell into ruin and was replaced by a commemorative stone at the same site.

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The section is so named as the climb out of Glen Croe is so long and steep at the end that it was traditional for travellers to rest at the top, and be thankful for having reached the highest point. The current road no longer keeps to the floor of Glen Croe but steadily climbs across the southern slopes of The Cobbler, on the north side of the Glen, to the highest point of the pass. The westward descent to Loch Fyne is through Glen Kinglas, and from here the A815, the main road to Dunoon and the Cowal peninsula, branches off to the south.*

I have not been to this particular corner of Scotland, but I wish I had! Wow. And isn’t it great that they erected a stone inviting people to “rest and be thankful”?

Anyway, I thought this fit in nicely with my effort to be thankful this month–don’t you agree?

*Information and photos via Wikipedia

Tout va bien

Well, something nice happened to me yesterday.

I had had a long, hard day at work–leading a workshop at my flyover university. On the way home I needed to stop at the grocery store for a few things. Of course, it was raining.

It was one of those weird midwestern storms where you can clearly see the demarcation line of the storm: rain and sunny sky. It was thundering. By the time I was checking out it was pouring rain, a deluge of biblical proportions! But you could still see the sun shining off in the distance and god-rays shining down through the clouds.

Anyway, the amazing thing was–when I left the store, there were several young Dierberg’s employees waiting outside with big golf umbrellas to escort shoppers to their cars!

Dierbergs

Wasn’t that nice?

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Time for some thrilling heroics

Well, while my dual personality was posting about Achilles and The Illiad and heroes ‘n such and carrying on a deep conversation with the boy in the comments section, I was busy enjoying a Firefly marathon.

What a great show, though sadly short-lived. You may recall that it follows the exploits of a rag-tag bunch of misfits on a small spacecraft 500 years in the future. It’s an old story, but one we can relate to, can’t you? “We’re deep in space, corner of No and Where.” You gotta love it.

Meanwhile, back in reality, it is already the week of Thanksgiving. How did we get here? We haven’t even begun to post about all that we are thankful for! We have been side-tracked. We’ll have to do better.

For starters, I am thankful that the boy and his lovely bride came over for dinner last night. I made sloppy-joes and french fries. I am thankful that they live here in town and that they are always happy to come over.

We are going over to their place for Thanksgiving dinner with her parents. I am bringing my cheesy potato casserole. How wonderful, after all these years, to have an extended family!

Finally, here’s a little treble heroics ( Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford: “Jubilate Deo”) to perk up your day: