dual personalities

Tag: scripture

“Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest”*

Plexiglass dividers between the seats are so flattering.

I think daughter #1 had a pretty great birthday what with an after-school trip to the zoo with the wee babes and a party at home afterwards (just the fam).

The zoo train is the best.
But sometimes there are bad smells at the zoo. C’est la vie.

On Saturday after FaceTiming with wee Katie, daughter #1 and I really got down to business in the basement.

We went through bins and consolidated a lot of stuff, throwing away a lot on the way.

It was glorious. We still have more to go through, but I am very pleased. There is nothing like getting organized to soothe the soul.

After a trip to the recycling center with a load of cardboard, we stopped at Club Taco for to-go margaritas and guacamole. Then we settled in for a long music session, listening to a cache of CDs from the 1990s we found in the basement.

Good times.

More cowbell!

One of the scripture lessons on Sunday was from Romans:

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of
quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the
weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who
abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who
eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on
servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall.
And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all
days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those
who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who
eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while
those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to
God.
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we
live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then,
whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end
Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead
and the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why
do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God. (14:1-12)

Let’s try to get through the week without passing judgment on our brothers and sisters, shall we? I know it’s hard, but c’mon.

*Henry Van Dyke, “Hymn to Joy” (Van Dyke wrote this poem in 1907 while staying at the home of Williams College president Harry Augustus Garfield. He was serving as a guest preacher at Williams at the time. He told his host that the local Berkshire Mountains had been his inspiration.)

“You’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet”*

On Saturday the OM and I decided to take a drive down to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on the Mississippi River at Lemay, MO. Both our fathers are buried there, so we found their graves.

I was glad to be reminded that my father’s grave was located on Grant Drive with a nice view. (You will recall that U.S. Grant was assigned to Jefferson Barracks after graduating from West Point in 1843.) ANC III was a proud veteran of two wars and I think he would be pleased with his resting place.

We didn’t tarry.

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

From “Bivouac of the Dead” by Theodore O’Hara (1820 – 1867)

In other news I was sad to note the passing of Julia Evans Reed who fought the good fight but lost it finally on Friday. She was a journalist and wrote for Garden & Gun in recent years. She appreciated old things and history, her southern heritage, old friends and good parties. And she was a good writer. Also lost to cancer was Chadwick Bozeman, who soldiered on through surgeries and chemotherapy to make several movies, most notably Black Panther (2018), exhibiting extraordinary courage.

Into paradise may the angels lead thee and at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee, and bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem. (BCP, Burial of the Dead, Rite I)

On a happier note, daughter #2 dressed wee Katiebelle in a smocked dress my mother made for daughter #1 and had a photo shoot. Note the wee babe is wearing the cherry bloomers and matching booties her aunt made to complete the ensemble.

Here is daughter #1 wearing the dress on Christmas in 1984 with her grandma who made it.

Sunrise, sunset.

One of the lessons in Sunday’s liturgy was this wonderful passage from Romans:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Words to live by. I especially like the part about leaving room for the wrath of God. Trust that he is in control. Everything will work out.

*Carole King

A barrel full of bears

Tomorrow is the birthday of Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971), an American poet known for his light verse. This poem, which I haven’t thought about for years and years, was a great favorite of mine as a child. Remember “The Tale of Custard the Dragon”?

  • Belinda lived in a little white house,
    With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
    And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
    And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
  • Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
    And the little gray mouse, she called him Blink,
    And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
    But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
  • Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
    And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
    Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
    But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

You can read the whole poem here.

Our copy was in “The Golden Treasury of Poetry” illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund.

I wonder if people still read Nash’s poems to their children as our parents did. Studies show, of course, that reading to one’s children is one of the most effective ways to build the “language” neural connections in their growing brains as well as a strong base for cognitive development. Indeed, babies who are read to have their “receptive” vocabularies (number of words they understand) increased 40 per cent, while those not read to increase by only 16 per cent. (Studies show!)

Well, a toast to old Ogden Nash and a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

While on the subject of reading, John Piper gives 10 reasons for reading the Bible every day. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

(Painting by Mary Cassatt: “Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren” -1888)

“Go not to the Elves for counsel”*

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 8.11.30 PM.png

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)

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 9.08.02 PM.png

“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)

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 8.43.50 PM.png

Be prepared.

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 9.12.56 PM.png

*J.R.R. Tolkien

What are you reading (and watching)?

IMG_4135.JPG

I received some good books for Christmas and have picked up a few since then. I just finished The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard, which won the National Book award in 1980. I like her and it is a joy to read her prose and this story, which takes place in the Far East right after WWII, is thought-provoking. I am also reading the story of Elihu Washburne, who was the U.S. minister to France during the siege of Paris in 1871. It is an amazing story–which I had all but forgotten (if I ever actually knew). Washburne stayed at his post while the Prussians laid siege to Paris and afterward when the revolutionaries of the Commune embarked on a reign of terror that filled the streets with blood. Zut alors!

I didn’t do much over my long weekend. I vacuumed and straightened and drove some flattened boxes to the recycling center. I went to church.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Corinthians 1:2-9)

The OM and I watched some movies–Tall in the Saddle (1944)–which has a witty script and lots of action, not to mention a very appealing John Wayne.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.07.42 PM.png

We also watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) directed by Quentin Tarantino. This movie is two hours and 40 minutes long and full of problems, but I have to say I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t all that violent, at least until the end.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.12.13 PM.png

The director has indulged himself–he could have (and should have) tightened it up, but most of the PC criticisms are groundless. The New Yorker called it “obscenely regressive”–please, it takes place in 1969 in Hollywood, what do  you expect? As if looking back and portraying a moment in history as he saw it is obscene. I guess the obscene part is reveling in it, rather than condemning it, right? I’m not sure what Tarantino’s ultimate point was, but my takeaway is (spoiler alert), if the Manson crew had broken into the house next door to Sharon Tate’s and instead attacked a stuntman, a fading western actor, a pitt bull, and an Italian actress, the outcome would indeed have been different. If this is glorifying white men, so be it.

We also re-watched Ford vs. Ferrari (2019) because it is the OM’s new favorite movie. I enjoyed it too. Matt Damon and Christian Bale were definitely overlooked by the Academy, but Big Surprise.

The wee babes were both sick so they missed taco night on Sunday, but the boy came over and talked about movies and other grown up stuff, which was a treat for me.

By the way, do you know how Martin Luther King got his name? I didn’t either. (I just assumed his parents gave him the name as an infant.)

Perhaps you know the story: In 1934 the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta sent its pastor Michael King, Sr. to attend a Baptist World Alliance Meeting in Berlin. The trip included a whirlwind visit to a number of other sites, but apparently the time in Germany (just as the National Socialists were starting their rise) had such an impact on Michael that he decided to rename himself and his 5-year-old son after the Great Reformer. Thus, father and son became Martin Luther King, Sr. and Jr.

That is cool and I thought this was interesting.

Today I am scheduled to have my last radiation treatment. So picture me ringing that bell for a second time. Praise Jesus.

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!

Unknown-1.jpeg

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.

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 9.41.45 AM.png

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.

They neither toil nor spin

It is daylily season in our flyover town.

IMG_3987.JPG

IMG_3989.JPGIMG_3990.JPG

As you know, I love them and their heat-loving generosity of spirit. We have had a very long wet, fairly cool spring but the lilies seem to have adjusted. They just go with the flow and fill in and keep going.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. (Matthew 6:25-34

Here are some pics from a friend’s blog. He has a much more diverse display than we do.

IMG_4862.jpgIMG_4850.jpgIMG_1850.jpgIMG_1849.jpgBut any way you slice ’em, they’re great!

(And let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day!)

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace”*

IMG_3966.JPG

Froggie went a courtin’…and I found him at an estate sale a few weeks ago. I planted some annuals this weekend. Hopefully they will fill in around him. I planted some geraniums in pots as well. The OM even got into the act…

IMG_3963-1.JPG

We have had a lot of rain, which is great for the grass…but the violets love it as well… IMG_3965.JPG

…zut alors! They are considered a weed around here.IMG_3964-1.JPG

Anyway, everything is greening up nicely. I saw a big bumble bee doing his thing and the birds are building nests and the chipmunks are building tunnels.

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10)

We babysat for the wee babes and they went to bed like little lambs (?!) once we had wrestled them into their jammies (easier said than done). Then they came over for their usual visit on Sunday night and frolicked in our yard.

IMG_9171.jpegIMG_9170.jpegIMG_9169.jpegIMG_9168.jpegIMG_9165.jpegIMG_9173.jpeg

Be thou thyself, O Lord, we beseech thee, the shepherd of thy people; that we who are strengthened by thy risen presence may in our daily life walk with thee, and in humble trust seek to follow thee, as thou callest us by name and dost lead us out; for thy glory’s sake.

—The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933)

*Isaiah 55:11

In the land of Goshen

The OT lesson in church on Sunday was about Joseph (a hero of mine) revealing himself to his brothers.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’  …And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. (Genesis 45:3-11, 15)

It is the climax of a wonderful lesson about trusting God when bad things happen. Of course, the rector did not mention it, but preached on the Gospel–which is appropriate, no doubt, but I wish he had at least mentioned it and how great it is. I wish I had been the reader–so much drama!

Speaking of drama, we had a very windy weekend here in flyover country. Saturday night the wind whistled and roared around our house (66 miles an hour!) and even set off the burglar alarm at 1:30 in the morning! The sun came out on Sunday, and although it was still quite windy, it was a beautiful day.

On Saturday, after I struck out at a couple of estate sales, the OM and I ventured down to the Eugene Field House to hear Harry Weber talk about his art and the process of making it.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 8.53.54 PM.png

It was a fascinating talk by an engaging old fellow, who had many a story to tell about his life sculpting bronze statues of the rich and famous and of the more obscure subjects, including several in Nacogdoches, Texas. Locally, we love the one he sculpted for the Mississippi Riverfront, “The Captains’ Return,” which is submerged by flood waters regularly.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 12.16.26 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 12.36.26 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 12.36.00 PM.png

We went to Steak ‘N Shake afterwards.

In other news, I discovered that one of my Christmas cacti is blooming again in a spare bedroom!

FullSizeRender

Also the Christmas amaryllis has really gone to town–5 blooms so far.

image1.jpeg

And did you hear that director Stanley Donen died? He directed On the Town and Singin’ in the Rain, with Gene Kelly, plus Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, Pajama Game, Indiscreet, and Charade. He had a light touch that others could never replicate. He never got an Academy Award nomination (typical), but he did get a special Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

Watch one of his movies! You’ll be glad you did.

And, of course, what would a weekend be without a visit from those wee babes? I found some more old toys in the basement and they were thrilled…

IMG_5480.JPEGIMG_5479.JPEGIMG_5477.JPEGImage-1.jpg

Life is good.

The scattering winds

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 11.16.01 AM.png

For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’;
and to the shower and the rain, ‘Be strong.’
 He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men may know his work.
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.

–Job 37:6-10

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 6.25.47 PM.png

I am grateful that I work inside. And have an attached garage. And seat heaters in my car. I am grateful for a warm coat and gloves.

What are you grateful for?