Saturday, November 30, 2013

Amazing

Amazingly, tomorrow is the first day of December and the first Sunday of Advent. For me the year has flown by. I lost one job at the end of January, went to visit my sister in California in February, started my new job in March, had a visit from my brother in June and from my sister in October, and along the way celebrated holidays and family birthdays. Gatherings at my home and my relatives' homes, and barbecues in the back yard. This weekend, Thanksgiving, and coming soon Christmas, then it all starts over again.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Home day

Today I spent quietly at home. That is my favorite kind of day. There were some household tasks I wanted to get done, and I did get a start on them, a little bit. But, hey, the night is young -- I still may get more done. I'm a bit of a night owl and sometimes get a second wind around 10:00 p.m.

My trouble with cleaning is that I get distracted by details. I spent an inordinate amount of time today sorting through the toys in the toybox in the room where I let my little great-nieces play. I found some pieces missing from some puzzles, threw away a few broken items, and organized the toys into groups that will last until the next time the little girls open the toybox and play with anything inside it.

Most of the toys are from when my siblings and I were young, meaning they are between 50-60 years old. They are mostly wooden blocks (including a Playskool Duffle Bag O'Blocks) along with a few Lincoln Logs, a few Fiddlesticks, and a few Matchbox cars. They have been well played with for three generations now.

From a few years ago -- the latest generation playing with the toys. She has fiddlesticks in her hand,
and you can see a couple of the Playskool blocks and a little car on the floor nearby,
plus a few other odds and ends 
.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for the time I'm anticipating with my family. Good food, good people, a good time.

Wednesday's thanks

Human kindness. Caring for one another.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of thankful praise.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From then to now

Today I am thankful for church history. Lots of mistakes we've made, but lots of beauty, devotion, and love. And so it still is.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good idea

Today I am thankful for human ingenuity. From the internet to bottles and bottle openers to making clothes out of plants and animals. Go figure.

Our creativity is an aspect of our being created in the image of God the Creator.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Video

Today I am thankful for good TV shows and movies. Lots of talent from lots of people required to turn out a good product.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Many thanks

Thursday: I am thankful for my warm, cozy blankets and bed.

Friday: I am thankful for mochas, and coffee in general.

Saturday: I am thankful for music. Also, Jane Austen.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Swans

Today I am thankful for ... swans. Lots of them on the wing lately. They are beautiful creatures.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Harvest

Today I am thankful for the turning of the seasons. Autumn is giving way to winter. I always joke that winter is my fourth favorite season, and that's a fact. Still, it is right that the seasons should succeed one another. As the Lord said, while savoring Noah's offering:

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.

Elizabeth von Arnim remarks:

It is delightful and instructive to potter among one's plants, but it is imperative for body and soul that the pottering should cease for a few months, and that we should be made to realise that grim other side of life. A long hard winter lived through from beginning to end without shirking is one of the most salutary experiences in the world.

The Solitary Summer

And in the encouraging words of Percy Bysshe Shelley:

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Ode to the West Wind

Monday, November 18, 2013

Word and food

Yesterday: I am thankful for the Bible.

Today: I am thankful for sufficient food. I have never had to go hungry.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Whoosh

Today I am thankful for indoor plumbing and hot and cold running water.

Which reminds me of a story. (A true story from my own life.) I recently had a garbage disposal installed under my kitchen sink. My sister and her husband were visiting and the whole family came over for dinner. My sister, who is a wonderful cook, made dinner. She rinsed some food scraps into the garbage disposal and announced she would be the first to use it. She turned it on and clatter, clang, bonk. She turned it off. "Oops. There was a spoon in there." So we all agreed that she was demonstrating what not to do. Thanks, sis!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Information highway

Hey! I know what! Today I'll be thankful for the internet! Because of the internet, I can blog. I can see friends on Facebook. I can look songs up on youtube. I can order books from Amazon. I can browse randomly from one site to another. I can exchange e-mails with my family.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That's life

Hm. What should I be thankful for today? Today was notable only for its ordinariness. I got up, I went to work, I came home. I guess I can be thankful for health and strength to live my ordinary life.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good for what ails ya

Today I am thankful for modern medicine. Over the course of my lifetime:

Antibiotics saved my life when I had spinal meningitis.

I had hyperparathyroidism, which causes kidney stones, depression, and sometime osteoporosis. Surgery cured me.

I had kidney stones accompanied by severe nausea. Anti-nausea drugs kept me from the discomfort and dehydration of endless vomiting. Narcotics eased my pain. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy broke up the large stones without invasive surgery so I could pass them, and a scope procedure and temporary stent took care of complications.

Thyroid issues were affecting my emotional well-being. Surgery and pharmaceuticals have provided equilibrium.

General anesthesia made surgical procedures painless.

I had a severe allergic reaction to an ointment I used on my skin. Prednisone brought it under control.

And the list goes on.

Last night, as a result of holding and using the leaf blower for a long time, my arm was sore. When I went to bed, it throbbed with pain. I took an ibuprofen and fell asleep. I woke up an hour later still in pain. I took another ibuprofen. I slept all night and felt fine in the morning. Now my arm feels a little sore again. I took some ibuprofen and am eagerly waiting for it to kick in.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Natural woman

Today I am thankful for -- Nature would be the greater category, but specifically I am thankful for my yard.

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The green Japanese maple -- gold for fall

I spent a long time outside today, first blowing leaves off the gravel parking space, then mowing the lawn.

The gravel area had not a carpet of leaves but more like a wading pool of them. I have an electric leaf blower and a long extension cord and I wielded the same to clear out shin-deep magnolia leaves. I couldn't help but consider the fact that the magnolia tree is my neighbor's, not mine, but on the other hand, I enjoy the blooms in the spring, so I do get some benefit out of it. Nevertheless, as I fully realized today, a magnolia is a messy tree. Anyway, I ended up with a very large amount of leaves on the cement driveway.

I hoped that I could clean them up with the riding lawnmower, but they just clogged it up. The pile was too deep. So I let it be while I mowed the lawn. That took longer than usual because of the leaves all over the back yard. The above picture of the maple shows the "before" situation. Pretty, but can't be left that way for the winter. Almost every time that I made a circuit of the yard, I would have to stop and empty the bags because they were jam-packed with leaves. I was almost running out of sunlight when I finished, then I still grabbed a rake to move the very large, deep pile of leaves off the driveway onto the street by the curb. There were more leaves than one usually puts at the curb. I hope the city sweeps them up. :-) 

Now the wind is blowing, maybe the leaves will scatter so that the pile in the street won't be so embarrassingly large.

Now I'm tired but "it's a good tired" as they say. I need to shower and do some laundry before going back to work tomorrow.

Today was Veterans Day here in the U.S. Maybe I should have been thankful for veterans today, but I can save that one up to use another day. Tomorrow, perhaps. At any rate, today while I worked outside I was also enjoying the beauty of the day and the scene.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Good books

Today I am thankful for good books and gifted writers. I'm reading a biography of the Bronte family.



They had a difficult, and ultimately tragic, life but transmuted it into art.

That is the theme of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, "A Musical Instrument":

What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river;
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sat the great god Pan,
While turbidly flow'd the river;
And hack'd and hew'd as a great god can
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan
(How tall it stood in the river!),
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notch'd the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.

"This is the way," laugh'd the great god Pan
(Laugh'd while he sat by the river),
"The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed."
Then dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain—
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds of the river.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Home, sweet home

Today I am thankful for shelter -- that I have a home. A week ago I took a picture looking out my window on a rainy day.

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Even if it's cold and rainy out, I can stay warm and dry.



Not everyone has that blessing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Three thanks (thankses?)

Wednesday I was thankful for living in the U.S. This thanks was triggered by my voting in a local election on Tuesday. I'm a little disappointed, actually, in some of the election results, but then that's how elections tend to go with me.

Thursday I was thankful for ... what? Let's say, all those members of my family not already covered by previous posts -- so everyone else in addition to Dad and Mom and my oldest brother. I do seem to have wonderful people in my family.

And today I'm thankful to be starting a three-day weekend. Oh, the things I'll do. Or so I always think before I have time off. I hope to live in a clean, beautifully organized home surrounded by a tidy lawn by the end of my time off. Doesn't usually happen, but sometimes I make progress, and that's reason for thankfulness too.

Dang, I'm some kind of Pollyanna.

Oh, and then there's this. I stopped at Food Pavilion grocery store on my way home from work and what to my wondering eyes should appear ...

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heigh ho

Today I'm thankful for my job. The work is worthwhile, my co-workers are congenial, and I earn a paycheck.

Monday, November 4, 2013

O brother, where art thou?

Today I am thankful for the life of my brother and for the promise that though he has died, yet he lives and will never die.



When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 11:20-27

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The body

Today I am thankful for my church, Third Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington.

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I am thankful for my small group and my pastor and my fellow members. I'm thankful for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. I'm thankful for the holy catholic church consisting of the whole
Christian fellowship in all places and ages.

I'm thankful for each congregation I've been a part of:

Calvary CRC, Seattle, Washington
Woodlawn CRC, Grand Rapids, Michigan
San Jose CRC, San Jose, California
First CRC, Visalia, California
Friendship Agape Church, San Jose California
Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, Washington
Third CRC, Lynden, Washington

A post for yesterday

Oops. I forgot to post yesterday. Yesterday I was thankful for my parents. Short version: They're wonderful people.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Good stuff

I have a friend on Facebook who, in the month of November, posts one thing every day she is thankful for -- since this is the month of Thanksgiving (Stateside). I was thinking of what to be thankful for today, and I didn't want to come up with something I can be thankful for or should be thankful for but something I am thankful for. So I looked back over the day for happy moments, and I guess they mostly were related to my dog. I took him to work today; many of my co-workers were out of the office for various reasons, so I spent several hours alone at my workstation with him. He was with me on the drive to and from work, and he's been with me all evening. We occasionally just exchange affection. Sometimes I go out of my way to pet him and talk to him, and sometimes he seeks me out to give a kiss or cuddle up close. We're good companions.

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Thank you, Lord.