Stories and glimpses of my crazy life

Stories and glimpses of my crazy life

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving and Praise

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln


William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thankful


I ate stuffing for breakfast. Yes! And it isn't even Thanksgiving yet.

Somehow though, with the driving wind and freezing rain and snow, along with a certain mood of heart and mind... I'm not preoccupied this year with waiting for the Proper Season.

Over the years I've done different things--decorated for Christmas in early November, or waited religiously until after Thanksgiving for even one lick of holiday music.

At this point though, I'm not concerned. I did wait until I saw the first snow to turn on the Christmas music with my own hand... but I enjoyed other's music happily before that. And when the snow did come--in multiple inches and flying white, a few weeks ago--I promptly tuned Charlie Brown Christmas, and wrote home for my parka.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, I've been part of a Friends-giving or two so far (hence the leftover stuffing) and next week will celebrate on the actual day. The opportunities for gratitude are so many that it would take more than 365 Thanksgiving days to declare them all. And yet I don't declare them nearly often enough. They get lost in the shuffle of other thoughts in my head and I don't go to the trouble to pick out individual ones and purposefully Give Thanks.

When asked this year, one of the things that stood out to me from this last year was the opportunity to travel so much--to make new friendships and have meaningful conversations. Also to meet people who are markedly different from me, and to learn things from them and about people in general. The opportunity for new experiences, perspectives and places. And for all the things that travel brings:

One of those is gratitude itself. I travel to put my own problems into perspective; to remember that my basic needs are luxuries elsewhere; to learn gratitude for what I have and find out what my needs truly are. It is true that my travels so far have not been to third-world countries where you would expect to feel the need of others over your own most markedly... but I find the broadened view of travel does that to me anyway. I discover what I can live without... I remember the hugeness of the world--the tiny fraction that I have seen so far--and am moved to help others, to pray for people I have never seen, and to give away because I can.

One of the dangers I feel in staying in small, familiar places is our propensity to forget about all that is different and far off. We live in a massive, diverse world. Hundreds of countries; thousands of cultures, billions of people.

"D'you know, in 900 years of time and space, I've never met anyone who wasn't important," -11

That's why I read, really. To know all about the different people and thoughts and ideas. But geography itself is staggering when we really stop and think about it. So, as much as I can I try to sprinkle my literary broadenings with actually Seeing the World. Call it curiosity, call it the desire for learning, for knowledge, for beauty. It is all of those and much more.

And I am also immensely grateful for the few weeks I was able to spend with my Aunt Emma; precious, numbered days. And as always, to spend time with cousins, getting to know them better. I hope and plan to work toward more cousin-time in the coming year.

At the same time as I've been moving about, spending time with cousins, and making new friends, I've spent less time at home and with my brothers, sister, Mother, Dad... This only makes me more grateful for my family, and in a way, I love to miss them. I'm greatly looking forward to being back in their lives, come Advent season. Their immediate lives that is, and they in mine. Even from afar, they are my best friends and encouragement, cheering me on in life and decisions and travel... I am immeasurably thankful for you guys.

And for books, pens, and music (Christmas music included), and all my needs met (excellent food, solid roofs, parkas, conversation, church).

And most for Christ Jesus himself.
Light of the world. Bread of Life. God with Us.
The gift of His Own Self that I can gladly claim.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 10, 2014

C.S. Lewis

a couple of quotes from our friend Jack~

"The great thing if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's own or real life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life--the life God is sending one day by day." 

"The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become - because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own." 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preparation and Anticipation



Chilly morning


Celebrating new births and bracing November winds with a little Nigella Christmas on youtube...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Blue Weather

I'm back in Minnesota, my friends! Enjoying the glorious clarity of October air, and the alternating cerulean brilliance with misty grey... There is truly nothing like the turning of color as the frosts creep in. Oranges, rusty reds and variations of greens and yellows. I took a walk the other day, following paths mown through gold-brown grasses, venturing up to the colorful trees, and ducking into the groves, under and over logs, crunching through the leaves. I filled my pockets and hands with crimson leaves fallen from the maples and oaks, and when I came home, tucked them between papers and heaped some weight on them so they'll be ready to decorate with in a few more days.
I was home for a couple of days before heading off to Rochester. A new opportunity to serve came up, so here I am in a lovely part of the state, continuing the day-to-day adventures of life. It's October, so of course I've made apple crisp, pumpkin cookies and bars, apples dipped in caramel, and various stews and squashes. I think a pumpkin pie is in order this afternoon. Just in time to chill in the fridge and come out for Sunday dinner. I had a chance to meet a new friend for Thai coffee in a delightful shop downtown. And amid the ups and downs and difficulties of the here and now, I have been able to enjoy the pleasant company of several aunties all in one place! Coloring and movies (like the sophisticated grownups we are ;) as well as cooking, singing and worship.
The days have been quieter here. Less music, more knitting and Sudoku. But that can be a good thing. And less time on the internet gives more time for thinking, reading, journaling, etc. Which is definitely good. And as always, through new experiences and old ones, through bounding life and throbbing joys, difficult paths, tough decisions, and tedious uncertainties... Prayer.
All-prayer is the armor that I must remember to don every morning when I get up--and then to keep tightening the straps as I jog through my day and my armor loosens like the autumn leaves...

Fly you leaves! And let my heart-strings be
Undo your ties and shudder through the air
Illuminate that beam of light for me
I'll praise your maker, rest my spirit there.

Burn! your flaming colors in this light
Shake off your summer burdens, raise your arms
Breathe in the wind, forget your stormy plight
Immersed in gold, put off the cold alarms

Run you chilly waters! while you can
Shine you sun! and turn the crops to gold
Foraging and storing is the plan
While flocks go over, chased by bracing cold.

Gleam and sing and dance in your fine dresses
Decorate the hills in russet glow
Loosen and let fall your leafy tresses
You've melted hearts; fear not the coming snow.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Adventure update


Well hello again, my friends! Is it October already?
Sorry, yes; I am again out of tune with the spinning of our little sun-centered orb. 'Clock moves so slowly, Time moves so fast' once again. The usual. Winds blow, cool evenings creep in, and here I am, struggling not to miss anything. Trying not to take for granted this, my very favorite of seasons. Chai, pumpkin scones, open windows, playing football in the yard.

Here where I am in the PNW, there hasn't been much chilly sweater-weather yet, but the mornings are lovely, and I'm soaking up the last warm sunny days. Of course the few misty, rainy days have also been perfectly delightful and Eyre-ish; with drifting fog that looked like wisps of white cloud fallen from the sky and lodged between the dark hills.
my little eyrie at Auntie's

and a couple of the hilarious cats that amuse me daily...

The above picture was me wishing Frodo and Bilbo many returns of the day~


crafts and party things, and pretty dinners

Off to Portland on a rainy day. (Got to browse in Powell's!)

(package from home)

entertainment and creative pursuits...

random selfies...
window-pretties

It is difficult, as always, to synopsize or incapsulate a month of extraordinary life. Pleasant outings, friendly conversation, delicious food; insightful sermons & scripture, new books and window-views, football and movies; parties and celebration, toast and tea, girl-time; brisk adventure, (more pizza and football), time for sketching and writing, (more coffee, chatter, laughter); crafting, and kitties, and babies...

Along with some great new experiences, there has been plenty of time for reading and writing and things. One of the projects I've been working on has been typing out/editing some stories of mine that I brought in the form of a stack of notebooks. Like C.S. Lewis, I prefer to write (first draft) by hand (long-hand with a pen--much more stimulating to the inspiration and writing experience). So it has been much to my surprise, as well as satisfaction, to find my word count is past 20,000 already!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dandelion Fire


"--Living fire, laughing like dandelions standing tall in a fresh-mown lawn, like dandelions that have cracked concrete with nothing but roots, like dandelions unafraid to be turned into ash, or cut or poisoned, ready to be born again." - Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson (READ IT.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Doe the Nexte Thyng


author: anonymous
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like low inspiration
     "Doe the Nexte Thyng"

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by Moment, let down from heaven,
Time opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
     "Doe the Nexte Thyng"

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings
     "Doe the Nexte Thyng"

Looking to Jesus, ever serener
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalms,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
     "Doe the Nexte Thyng"

Monday, August 18, 2014

yours in demigodishness...

"Hercules, huh?" Percy frowned. "That guy was like the Starbucks of ancient Greece. Everywhere you turn--there he is."
***
'I nodded, looking at Rachel with respect. "You hit the Lord of the Titans in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush."'
***

'Piper had heard that Percy could speak to horses, being the son of the horse lord Poseidon, but she'd never seen it in action.
"What does Blackjack want?" she asked.
"Donuts," Percy said. "Always donuts.”'

***

{"From Hamlet to omelet in practically no time at all" -- the Melendys}

Friday, August 15, 2014

Clasping corruscations,

...and leaping at beauties as if they were fireflies. Touching, smiling, photographing; glad to find them as real as I believed.
 

Because sometimes my tired mind forgets the swirling weight of glory hanging in the very air we breathe. Each gift of God in the pleasures of full moons, good pizza and sweaty ball-gloves... books and singing, and the tree's anthem of leaves... waiting to be seen and loved and laughed at. 

  
...Gifts to make worship well up in my chest and life-joy sparkle in my eyes.