Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Come, ye thankful people, come!

There is a certain worship song that is often sung on or around Thanksgiving that I have come to despise. It is sung like a dirge and I find the words simplistic to the point of being meaningless. Thankfulness is a powerful overwhelming emotion that makes you turn your face upward and weep or laugh. It makes you sing with your heart overflowing. Thanksgiving is also a command, given in Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God..." I would like to conclude this short missive on thanksgiving with a hymn written in the 1800s. Sing to the Lord of the harvest!

Come, ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of harvest home
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide,
For our wants to be supplied
Come to God's own temple come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear,
Lord of harvest, grant that we,
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take his harvest home
From his field shall in that day
All offenses purge away;
Give his angels charge at last,
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In his garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
To thy final harvest home,
Gather thou thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
There, forever purified,
In thy presence to abide,
Come, with all thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.

(Henry Alford
George J. Elvey)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Anniversary Nonni and Papa!

Today is my parent's anniversary. This is a picture of them with their two granddaughters, Annabelle(left) and Ruthie. They have been the most wonderful parents to me and my brother, and now they are wonderful, loving grandparents. I love you Mom and Dad! Posted by Picasa
This is Ruthie in October(9 months old). She's eating a leaf. Do you see a trend here? Posted by Picasa

Are you down with down?

I think geese must be very warm animals. I suppose they need to stay warm because they float around in ponds and honk most of their days. If they're not swimming, they're flying, which would also require some warmth. The geese at the park near my house spend their time consuming massive quantities of stale bread crusts and pooping on the walking path. If geese could be obese, these geese would be obese. So what am I getting at?

It has just become winter here in the sweltering city of Mobile, and winter requires different attire and a new setting on the thermostat. Our house is drafty, since I guess in the 1940s people were shorter and generated more body heat, therefore eliminating the need for insulation. (Stay with me here). My bedroom is the coldest one in the house because of the number of windows that don't seal correctly. So last night, I got out the down comforter. It was a big decision, and one I didn't make lightly. I even consulted with my wise husband, Jay, who said, "whatever you think, Merrill." Lights out and the night of the inferno began. I was sweating after approximately five minutes. I tossed around all night, pulling up the covers, then throwing them off with the enthusiasm of an Olympic shot-putter. I will say I like the way down comforters have a gentle sort of crackle when you move around. Even when you thrash around because you feel like you are "en fuego."

So I've determined that I'm not down with down. Unless I lived in an igloo, or if I were stranded on the North Face of Everest and my Sherpa had turned back and left me with only a can of baked beans and some dried fruit. Jay thinks that I produce too much body heat, or BTUs (British Thermal Units or something). I have a high metabolism and I'm always cold because all my body heat is leaking out. This leaking is trapped by the down and creates an inferno effect. Plus, they make down comforters with different ratings, and ours must be rated for high altitude survival and the Arctic Circle.

You may ask, why did you not simply get up and switch back to your normal comforter? I'm not sure. Maybe I just wanted to give geese a chance.

(In no way do I intend to demean geese and their lovely feathers. I have a profound respect for their thermal capacities and I believe they are most generous in donating their down for the sad naked humans who have to wear clothes to keep warm, and must board airplanes to fly here and there.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the curse is lifted

Winter is here. I suppose the curse is lifted. The Weather Channel will not triumph.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today I spent over $60.00 at the cleaners

Today I spent over $60.00 at the cleaners. I thought, " this is ridiculous" as I wrote the check. But there is something wonderful and therapeutic about dropping off a crusty pile of man-smelling work shirts and 3 year old bridesmaid dresses one day and picking them up the next day, clean and carefully sheathed in hygienic plastic. No longer do the words DRY CLEAN ONLY strike fear into my heart. It just means ONE PIECE OF LAUNDRY I PERSONALLY DON'T HAVE TO WASH AND FOLD. Lovely.

I would like to comment on a line in the song "Sweet Home Alabama." The line is "Sweet home, Alabama/Where the skies are so blue." I thought about this the other day because the sky was so blue it almost hurt my eyes. It was a very deep, vibrant blue, and I thought that perhaps the sky is bluer in Alabama than in other places. Or maybe it just seems so because of the line from the song. Whatever the case may be, I'm just glad I was able to cast my gaze up into the blueness and let it sink into me and make me smile.

The trees in southern Alabama are too tired to put on any fall colors. I think they have been so tossed about and whipped around by so many heartless storms this year that they took a vote and unanimously decided not to dress out in their autumnal best. Not only this, but a large oak in my yard has decided to muster up a springtime show of new, tender foliage to replace what it lost to the punishing winds. Today was 82 degrees, so maybe it is spring! Like Narnia locked in a never-ending winter under the wicked White Witch's reign, Mobile is held captive to summer and spring...maybe so hurricane season will never end and the weather channel can take over the world.

And now...the word of the day, lovingly dedicated to Jenny Witter Dye (give the I-man a kiss for me and Ruthie)---

innocuous: adjective (in-knock-you-us) 1)producing no injury, harmless
2) not likely to give offense or to arouse strong feelings or hostility: inoffensive

sample sentence: The Supreme Court Justice nominee's opinions seemed innocuous after my brief scrutiny.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Baby Ruth

I would like to tell you about my little baby girl, Ruthie. She was born in January and the first night we had her home she cried the entire night. Jay and I were traumatized. We called the nursery at the hospital three or four times, sort of hoping they might say " why don't you just bring her in and we'll see what we can do." They never offered but they were very helpful anyway. Day 2 we discovered the miracle of the pacifier.

Nothing really prepared me for the tiny infant who required attention 24 hours a day. But I began to love her more and more each day and now, almost 10 months later, I truly delight in her and I am so thankful for her life.

She is small for her age, with big blue eyes, lots of light brown hair and a wonderful smile that wrinkles her nose and lights up her whole face. It is especially sweet when accompanied by wiggling and leg kicking. Ruthie hates socks unless they're in her mouth. One sock on is acceptable, but never two. She crawls around with insatiable curiousity and loves eating little pieces of debris that she finds on the floor, or pages of magazines and books. She especially loves our cat, Wally. She exclaims when she sees him and crawls frantically over to pet him, her breath puffing out in short breaths with excitement. When I say pet, I mean grab. Ruth grabs handfuls of fur and yanks, so I intervene and teach her how to be gentle, even though Wally is so sweet and never gets angry.

When Ruth laughs, she gets hiccups. This is sweet but also sort of troublesome, because she'll often spit-up when she gets so worked up. This is passed on from her Dad, who suffers from the same condition. Maybe Ruth will grow out of it, but in any case, the laughter is worth the side-effect. Her laughter is pure, unrestrained glee. She throws her head back, her nose wrinkles and I will perform whatever ridiculous antics I can to hear that sound.

She is a master work, and I defer all praise to the Master. She is beautiful, and I am reminded of the One who is beauty. She is loved by us, but I want her to know the One who is love. He formed her, He knows her, and He holds her.

dot dot dot

Here is a poem I wrote when I was pregnant- it is silly but I like it.

My Belly Button is Gone (Nov 4, 2004-How crazy-I wrote this a year ago today! Wow)

My belly button is gone
It's flat with just a dimple
Or maybe just a crinkle
At any rate a mere shadow
Of what it used to be

I no longer get fuzz
Tucked snugly inside
From clothes of different colors
Little balls of lint
That made me smile

I don't really mind that my belly button's gone
I know that it'll be back
When my daughter arrives
And both will make me smile

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Debut of a Blog

Oh the power of a blog! Four letters that form an odd little word that sounds like the name of a friendly monster that might be found under my bed. I am very excited to have this little corner of cyberspace to myself- to exercise my mind and share a little of my soul with whomever might care to listen. I feel like this moment should be heralded by trumpet playing or a ribbon cutting with huge shiny scissors, but alas, it is just me, sitting solitary at my uncomfortable desk, wrapped in a fleecy blanket and thinking about what I need to be doing right now because my baby is taking a nap.

I would like to take this opportunity to relate the story of how my world was shattered last week. It was bedtime for little Ruthie, around 8 o'clock. Bedtime is a glorious word these days, not because I do not enjoy my days with my little girl, but because it is the wrapping up of another day of her life. It means we made it through the day, and we can rest, she slumbering so sweetly in her crib, and me tidying up the house and settling in with a book or magazine, or snuggling with my husband, Jay. It is like a sigh of relief and contentment, internal and external.

So after bedtime prayers, we turned the lamp off, shut the door, and raced to the welcoming arms of the worn leather couch that was a hand me down from my parents. I was trying to beat Jay, so I leaped over the coffee table, and then over Jay, throwing myself gleefully onto the couch, about to win the coveted remote! However, our couch is not anchored to a wall, and it slides backward ever so gently when one sits upon it in a normal manner. My 120 pound frame slamming into it is another matter. The couch shoved backwards, in turn shoving the table behind it backwards. On this table sat the antique globe that lights up so charmingly, illuminating all the continents and countries, including the USSR. I repeat the word "antique." The table gave up its care of the terrestrial ball and it shattered in a glorious crash on our unyielding hardwood floors. Oh, the despair! I was truly horrified and I apologized to my husband, whose grandmother originally owned the globe. He was gracious and forgiving as we picked up the shards of Europe and South America. I cut my finger on Asia, but I am certainly not holding grudges, due to the circumstances.