Posts Tagged ‘kith/kin

25
Jan
19

1.25.19 … “If you are mindful, or fully present in the here and now, anxiety disappears and a sense of timelessness takes hold, allowing your highest qualities, such as kindness and compassion, to emerge.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Mindfulness, Vietnam: Another non-Westerner who has influenced my life in recent years.

Nhat Hanh taught that you don’t have to spend years on a mountaintop to benefit from Buddhist wisdom. Instead, he says, just become aware of your breath, and through that come into the present moment, where everyday activities can take on a joyful, miraculous quality. If you are mindful, or fully present in the here and now, anxiety disappears and a sense of timelessness takes hold, allowing your highest qualities, such as kindness and compassion, to emerge.

This was highly appealing to Westerners seeking spirituality but not the trappings of religion. Burned-out executives and recovering alcoholics flocked to retreats in the French countryside to listen to Nhat Hanh. An entire mindfulness movement sprang up in the wake of this dharma superstar. Among his students was the American doctor Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course that is now offered at hospitals and medical centers worldwide. Today, the mindfulness that Nhat Hanh did so much to propagate is a $1.1 billion industry in the U.S., with revenues flowing from 2,450 meditation centers and thousands of books, apps and online courses. One survey found that 35% of employers have incorporated mindfulness into the workplace.

Source: Thich Nhat Hanh, Father of Mindfulness, Awaits the End | Time, http://time.com/5511729/monk-mindfulness-art-of-dying/

Rumi, quotes: I truly love Rumi quotes. So why had I never heard of him until a few years ago. He’s only been around for 700+ years

The inspiration you seek is already within you.

Be silent and listen.

~ Rumi

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, Mevlânâ/Mawlānā, Mevlevî/Mawlawī, and more popularly simply as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic originally from Greater Khorasan. Wikipedia
Born: September 30, 1207
Died: December 17, 1273, Konya, Turkey

stuff that doesn’t matter:

“As is usually the case with viral stuff that doesn’t actually matter but that we pretend matters anyway in order to give ourselves some semblance of control, identity, and distraction in this exponentially disastrous world, the arrow question has kindled fierce arguments between folks who believe their way of drawing X’s is THE ONLY CORRECT WAY and EVERYONE ELSE CAN GO TO HELL.”

Source: Twitter Is Divided Over The Right Way To Draw An ‘X’, https://hub.bloomjoy.com/ruin-my-week/right-way-to-draw-an-x/

LOL;

1.24.19

Cultural Rorschach test, Covington Catholic viral video, viral video:

I’ve been slow to opine on the Covington Catholic viral video. I reposted two days later this post by Fr. James Martin, SJ whom I respect.

And I hope that the students are ready to apologize as well.

Until then, dialogue is essential. Among Covington High School administrators. Between the students and indigenous peoples. Or simply between that group of students and Mr. Phillips.

In disagreement, dialogue is essential, as is what Pope Francis calls a “culture of encounter.” For example, a service trip for the students to a Native American reservation–as a learning opportunity.

Another essential lesson, which transcends whatever happened in Washington this weekend: an understanding of the appalling treatment that Native Americans have endured in our country. That lesson needs to be learned regardless of what you think of Covington High School.

This Teachable Moment can offer us, if we are open, lessons about dialogue, encounter and reconciliation during this coming week, which is, believe it or not, Catholic Schools Week.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/46899546495/posts/10155810610636496/

And then I saw this. Did you pass or fail? I waited … and I’m not sure why. So I barely passed.

The story is a Rorschach test—tell me how you first reacted, and I can probably tell where you live, who you voted for in 2016, and your general take on a list of other issues—but it shouldn’t be. Take away the video and tell me why millions of people care so much about an obnoxious group of high-school students protesting legalized abortion and a small circle of American Indians protesting centuries of mistreatment who were briefly locked in a tense standoff. Take away Twitter and Facebook and explain why total strangers care so much about people they don’t know in a confrontation they didn’t witness. Why are we all so primed for outrage, and what if the thousands of words and countless hours spent on this had been directed toward something consequential?

Source: Julie Irwin Zimmerman: I Failed the Covington Catholic Test – The Atlantic, 
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/julie-irwin-zimmerman-i-failed-covington-catholic-test/580897/

And I loved having a conversation about cultural Rorschach testswith Davidson friend A. Hall

Yes, it is. Fascinating. We’ve had some vivid reminders that what we perceive as reality is based on the lenses with which we view it. And those lenses can change depending on the information we put in or on our lived experience. It can feel like vertigo to know that people have a completely different perception of reality – but it looks like understanding that is a challenge we should take up.

Ditto what she said!

At the same time, I regret commenting on another friend’s post, because my comment only gave friends a g”otcha, you’re a racist moment.” I wanted a discussion of cultural Rorschach tests and lenses and respect, and instead, I felt that the commenter was saying, “gotcha.”

The Great Comma, Epiphany moment, liturgical Christian traditions,Apostles Creed, Niceness Creed: The Great Comma! So, I guess I worship in one of the liturgical Christian traditions, and I participate in proclaiming the Great Comma. An Epiphany Moment for me.

 . . Born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, . . .

—The Apostles’ Creed

If you worship in one of the liturgical Christian traditions, you probably know the opening words of the Apostles’ Creed by heart:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; . . .

But have you ever noticed the huge leap the creed makes between “born of the Virgin Mary” and “suffered under Pontius Pilate”? A single comma connects the two statements, and falling into that yawning gap, as if it were a mere detail, is everything Jesus said and did between his birth and his death! Called the “Great Comma,” the gap certainly invites some serious questions. Did all the things Jesus said and did in those years not count for much? Were they nothing to “believe” in? Was it only his birth and death that mattered? Does the gap in some way explain Christianity’s often dismal record of imitating Jesus’ life and teaching?

There are other glaring oversights. The Apostles’ Creed does not once mention love, service, hope, the “least of the brothers and sisters,” or even forgiveness—anything that is remotely actionable. The earliest formal declaration of Christian belief is a vision and philosophy statement with no mission statement, as it were. Twice we are reminded that God is almighty, yet nowhere do we hear mention that God is also all-suffering or all-vulnerable (although it does declare that Jesus “suffered . . . , died, and was buried”). With its emphasis on theory and theology, but no emphasis on praxis (i.e., practice), the creed set Christianity on a course we are still following today.

The Apostles’ Creed, along with the later Nicene Creed, is an important document of theological summary and history, but when the crowd at my parish mumbles hurriedly through its recitation each Sunday, I’m struck by how little usefulness—or even interest—the creed seems to bring as a guide for people’s daily, practical behavior. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.

Both creeds reveal historic Christian assumptions about who God is and what God is doing. They reaffirm a static and unchanging universe and a God who is quite remote from almost everything we care about each day. Furthermore, they don’t show much interest in the realities of Jesus’ own human life—or ours. Instead, they portray what religious systems tend to want: a God who looks strong and stable and in control. No “turn the other cheek” Jesus, no hint of a simple Christ-like lifestyle is found here.

https://email.cac.org/t/ViewEmail/d/EA7137F1585CAE9E2540EF23F30FEDED/1DC1AEAE5E535C1F0B3A73003FEB3522

1.23

Peripatetic Posse, kith/kin, wasabis, safety in numbers: My friend reposted one of my favorite of her blog posts. I’m not the letter writer.

My friend Dennard Lindsey Teague reminded me of an article I wrote several years ago in tribute to my group of Davidson College Alumni women from the Davidson College Class of 1982. They are my “peripatetic posse.”

In honor of Dennard’s upcoming birthday (and our particular friendship going back to first grade), I wanted to post this again in celebration of her, of MY friendships, and in celebration of ALL women’s friendships.

And yet fifteen years after graduation we came back together for a reunion, setting in motion a powerful force, the original “us” reconvened and buttressed.

Now we see each other yearly, as many of us as can get there, with the “there” moving between vacation homes, rented camps, and urban hotels. We have a system for choosing location and time, and it begins anew each spring so we can gather in the fall. We pool resources to be sure all can come.

On the appointed weekend, from the time the last one arrives on Thursday or Friday until the first one leaves on Sunday, we sit in a circle with a single purpose: listening to what has happened in each other’s lives throughout the last year. Listening to hear, not listening to solve or fix. Just listening. We take breaks only for meal preparation, pouring coffee or wine, a long walk or hike each day, and a little sleep.

There’s power in our honesty and in our safety. There are opportunities for us to see both sides of an issue through each other as we skip the “How could someone think that?” in favour of the “Oh, I can see why you feel the way you do.” Maybe one woman has parenting challenges that help another imagine that her own mother did all she could; a rant on health-care annoyances is met with a doctor’s own perspective on her disappointment in her changing profession. Yet we don’t go out of our way to stir up the subjects on which we would disagree (and there are probably several). It’s not a place to be right; it’s a place to be loved.

Source: My Peripatetic Posse: Safety in Numbers | Comment Magazine, https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/my-peripatetic-posse-safety-in-numbers

Corolla, OBX: many years at OBX, many memories of the horses …

Carolla Beach … What a way to start the day! This is our idea of traffic

Lunar eclipse, wolf moon: I was so excited, but I slept through the entire event: I’m glad some people were up,and shared their photos!

The Evolution of Lin-Manuel Miranda: The Evolution of Lin-Manuel Miranda is just fun to watch!

https://youtu.be/u-gte9G2urU, The Evolution of Lin-Manuel Miranda,

1.21.18 … We cannot be held responsible for bibliomania!

Baltimore MD, Lee’s Oyster and Pint, The Helmand (Afghan), Gnocco, Pitango Coffee, The Book Thing – Baltimore MD:

So far, lunch at Lee’s Oyster and Pint, great Afghan meal at The Helmand last night with Averie and Suzanne, brunch today at gnocco, now coffee at Pitango … endless opportunities for good food, good drink and good company in Baltimore. And then The Book Thing. We cannot be held responsible for bibliomania!

We cannot be held responsible for bibliomania!

20
Jan
19

1.20.19 … “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, Poetry, RIP, NPR: I will miss her words.

Much-loved poet Mary Oliver died Thursday of lymphoma, at her home in Florida. She was 83. Oliver won many awards for her poems, which often explore the link between nature and the spiritual world; she also won a legion of loyal readers who found both solace and joy in her work.

Oliver got a lot of her ideas for poems during long walks — a habit she developed as a kid growing up in rural Ohio. It was not a happy childhood: She said she was sexually abused and suffered from parental neglect. But as she told NPR in 2012, she found refuge in two great passions that lasted her entire life.

She said, “The two things I loved from a very early age were the natural world and dead poets, [who] were my pals when I was a kid.”

Source: Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83 : NPR, https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/577380646/beloved-poet-mary-oliver-who-believed-poetry-mustn-t-be-fancy-dies-at-83

I have loved reading friends’ favorite Mary Oliver poems that many have posted on Facebook since her death was announced 1.17.

Here is a favorite of mine:

“Morning Poem”:

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange

sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches—

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination

alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit

carries within it

the thorn

that is heavier than lead—

if it’s all you can do

to keep on trudging—

there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth

is exactly what it wanted—

each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly,

every morning,

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

And a few from others …

“The Summer Day”:

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Dog Songs”:

You may not agree, you may not care, but

if you are holding this book you should know that of all the sights I love in this world — and there are plenty — very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes.

“The Journey”:

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

Painting by Leonid Afremov

via Holland UCC


Meaning of Joy, Katelyn Ohashi, Steph Curry, gymnastics:

Even the  WSJ was impressed!  (And a shout out to Steph to boot!)

An amazing college gymnastics performance by @katelyn_ohashi becomes a viral video because it radiates human joy, writes @jasongay.

This is go­ing to sound pre­ten­tious, but what­ever: I think Ohashi’s rou­tine is a ra­di­ant ex­pres­sion of what it means for a hu­man be­ing to be very, very good at some­thing—and to want to share that with every­one. She projects a con­fi­dence that only great per­form­ers project, whether Olympic cham­pi­ons or con­cert pi­anists, that every eye is upon them. In­stead of shirk­ing from that, in­stead of get­ting rat­tled, Ohashi rushes to­ward the mo­ment. The mo­ment be­comes her.

These in­stances are rare, but they’re re­ally the rea­son why we watch sports, aren’t they? Sure, we come up with all kinds of ra­tio­nal­iza-tions for our sports ob­ses­sions—tra­di­tion, re­gional loy­al­ties, very bad bets on the Min­nesota Vikings—but what truly keeps the au­di­ence com­ing back is the chance that every once in a while, you’ll see a ra­di­ant ex­pres­sion of hu­man great­ness and joy. An Odell Beck­ham Jr. one-handed grab. A Patrick Ma­homes sidearm touch­down pass. Mikaela Shiffrin crush­ing a turn in the gi­ant slalom (Shiffrin’s ab­so­lutely ba­nanas World Cup sea­son is the most un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated sports story of the mo­ment.) A Roger Fed­erer one-handed back­hand down the line. Pretty much every­thing Steph Curry does. Ditto Si­mone Biles.

Student teacher relationships, emotional intelligence: I am forever grateful for teachers I had at E. Rivers Elementary School, Westminster, Davidson College and UGA Law. Those I had relationships stand out. Those I loved I will never forget.

“That unplanned moment illustrated for me the connection between emotional relationships and learning. We used to have this top-down notion that reason was on a teeter-totter with emotion. If you wanted to be rational and think well, you had to suppress those primitive gremlins, the emotions. Teaching consisted of dispassionately downloading knowledge into students’ brains.

Then work by cognitive scientists like Antonio Damasio showed us that emotion is not the opposite of reason; it’s essential to reason. Emotions assign value to things. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t make good decisions.”

Source: Opinion | Students Learn From People They Love – The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/learning-emotion-education.html

TMBS, aging, ageism, happiness is a choice, kith/kin:

I gain something wonderful every week at TMBS. This week, it was the insight from this article…The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s … I want to be described like this in 15 years!

The only constant in our lives is change. But if we are growing in wisdom and empathy, we can take the long view. We’ve lived through seven decades of our country’s history, from Truman to Trump. I knew my great-grandmother, and if I live long enough, will meet my great-grandchildren. I will have known seven generations of family. I see where I belong in a long line of Scotch-Irish ancestors. I am alive today only because thousands of generations of resilient homo sapiens managed to procreate and raise their children. I come from, we all come from, resilient stock, or we wouldn’t be here.

By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.

Source: NYTimes: The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s, https://nyti.ms/2RIcnnk?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Silence, Be Still, Sanctuary for God’s Presence, Paul Bane, Patheos: Great ideas to ponder!

Silence is the sanctuary for God’s presence residing in the depths and recesses of our heart.  In the solitude and quiet, we seek and discover the love of Christ dwelling with us. In the silence, we become still to hear God speaking life to us. Be still and know I am God.

The silence lifts us beyond our internal and external thoughts, and we discover the inward voice of God telling us that we are loved.You and I are daughters, sons and joint heirs of His divine kingdom. Silence is the sanctuary for God’s presence where we discover His unconditional love and never-ending hope for our life.

Source: Silence is the Sanctuary for God’s Presence | Paul Bane, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/mindfulchristianitytoday/2018/08/silence-is-the-sanctuary-for-gods-presence/

1.17.19

The Smithsonian, portraits, Henrietta Lacks, medical miracles – CNN, HeLa cells: I have been fascinated with the story of Henrietta lacks since my oldest son recommended that I read the book outlining her story. I was thrilled to see that she now has a portrait at the Smithsonian. This is old news from May 2018. I need to plan a visit to DC.

This week, the Smithsonian unveiled a portrait of Henrietta Lacks, the black tobacco farmer who ended up changing the world. Her cells have allowed for advances in cancer treatment, AIDS research, cloning, stem-cell studies and so much more. They traveled to the moon to test the effects of zero gravity, and scientists have sold and purchased them by the billions.

Source: The Smithsonian unveils a portrait of Henrietta Lacks, the black farmer whose cells led to medical miracles – CNN,

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/health/henrietta-lacks-portrait-smithsonian-tmd/index.html

1.17.19

“Who Will Write Our History“, Holocaust, Auerbach:

Nobility is a luxury for people imprisoned in a way station to annihilation, and the film does include expressions of futility, despair, and outrage at the conduct of fellow Jews. Auerbach worked in a soup kitchen that, some argued, just postponed rather than averted starvation. Another point of debate the archive documents is the proper attitude toward others’s suffering: Is callousness an expression of weakness or strength? 

The writings that were buried under the ghetto, soon to be burned to the ground by German troops, offer as many viewpoints as the people who contributed their words to the project. Together, though, they constitute what one historian calls “one great accusation.”

Queen Victoria, History Extra, funerals: Interesting if you enjoy history …

When Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 on 22 January 1901, it took her family, court and subjects by surprise – very few had been able to contemplate the mortality of the monarch who had ruled over Britain and its empire for almost 64 years. Her death marked the end of the Victorian era. Here, Stewart Richards considers Queen Victoria’s final moments, the chaotic preparations for her state funeral on 2 February 1901, and the secret items placed inside her coffin…

Source: The bizarre funeral of Queen Victoria: how, when and where did she die? – History Extra, https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/queen-victoria-death-funeral-mask-cause/

Westminster Abbey’s Hidden Gallery, Westminster Abbey, London:

They say good things come to those who wait. But if you’ve been waiting to get a glimpse inside Westminster Abbey’s old triforium, you’ve missed a hefty chunk of human history in the process: 700 years, in fact! Luckily, your wait is over, as the hidden gallery opened for public viewing this summer – for the first time since it was built, way back in the 13th century. Patience is a virtue, you know…

Photo: @theattinghamtrust

For many years, the triforium was essentially Westminster’s attic, used as storage space or as a spillover viewing gallery for coronations (one ticket, found during the renovation and now part of the display, was from the 1702 coronation of Queen Anne). It even served as the BBC’s outpost during Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, as Richard Dimbleby narrated the affair to a captive TV audience.

Source: Westminster Abbey’s Hidden Gallery: Inside The 700-Year Old Triforium, https://secretldn.com/westminster-abbey-hidden-gallery/

1.14.19

Outer Banks wild horses, RIP, Roamer, tourism ads, Charlotte Observer:

A wild mustang known around the world for being featured prominently in Outer Banks tourism materials has died at the height of his stardom.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund announced Monday that Roamer, a 15-year-old stallion, died Saturday, just 24 hours after being diagnosed with a tear in his GI tract that led to sepsis.

“People out there know who Roamer is, but may not realize it,” said Meg Puckett, the herd manager for the Corolla wild horses.

He was sort of a legend, on the cover of the tourism fliers and even on billboards. He was an ambassador for the horses.”

Roamer was among the oldest of the herd of nearly 100 horses, and also one of those who could not be easily tamed. He frequently refused to stay fenced into the area reserved for wild horses, and took off to wander among the tourists, Puckett says.

Herd managers eventually had to relocate him to a rehabilitation site operated by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, out of fear he would be hit by an off-road vehicle.

“That’s how he got his name, Roamer,” Puckett said. “He eventually became part of our ‘Meet a Mustang’ program (at the rehab site), which lets people have a more intimate experience meeting the horses.”

Source: Outer Banks wild horse featured in tourism ads dies | Charlotte Observer, 
https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/article224515940.html

Rich’s, Department Stores, Atlanta GA, Southern Childhood, Southern Living: I loved both Rich’s and Davison’s in Atlanta. My grandmother was a Chin buyer for Davison’s, but I have more memories of Rich’s.

Rich’s

VIA THE GEORGIA TRUST

Atlanta, Georgia

Rich’s, opened in 1867 by Morris Rich, was Atlanta’s premiere department store for all things fashionable and classic. At Christmas, shoppers anticipated the extravagant holiday decorations and gigantic Christmas tree that was displayed on top of a multi-level glass bridge, which was the first of its kind in the city. Eventually, Rich’s fashion show in Atlanta got so big it had to be moved to the Fox Theatre, as its customers were so anxious for a glimpse of next season’s clothes. After 138 years, Rich’s (known then as Rich’s-Macy’s due to its earlier acquisition) ended its era in 2005 and was converted to just “Macy’s.”

Source: Department Stores You’ll Remember From Your Southern Childhood – Southern Living, https://www.southernliving.com/fashion-beauty/vintage-southern-department-stores

j. peterman catalog, John Peterman: what a description! “the gentleman-retailer famously satirized on “Seinfeld,” talks adventuresome fashion, ‘Downton Abbey,” and the value of learning how to ride” … and here is a link to the catalog: https://www.jpeterman.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiAsoviBRAoEiwATm8OYDKBL93geNPsO-SZCHPCFSjOdTKDBtrhQNs6IzQKbW8iLOGVkjXuWBoCsRAQAvD_BwE

He has vis­ited at least 80 coun­tries, and when John Pe­ter­man says “vis­ited,” he means it. “That’s not just stop­ping at the air­port to change planes,” said the founder of J. Pe­ter­man Co., the cloth­ing com­pany that’s ac­quired cult sta­tus due to its hand-il­lus­trated cat­a­log and fan­ci­fully nar­ra­tive prod­uct de­scrip­tions that of­ten ref­er­ence far-flung places. At 77, Mr. Pe­ter­man still reg­u­larly sets off from his Lex­ing­ton, Ky., home to des­ti­na­tions like Paris and Buenos Aires. “I’m go­ing out and look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion,” he ex­plained. He in­sists that if you want to find the proper cut of a kilt, you must tramp around Scot­land to find it your­self. Each J. Pe­ter­man item be­gins with a jour­ney.

Source: Remember the J.Peterman Catalog? It’s Still Going Strong and So Is Mr. Peterman, https://www.wsj.com/articles/remember-the-j-peterman-catalog-its-still-going-strong-and-so-is-mr-peterman-11547569560?emailToken=cb5b9d341bc1b8bfb327c13eefd6e907J8TZSiLglM76h3xPZMtnb4IkNrSSHwU05gCkgRCZTCwwoQD12x7zIQ9+byovazWueSq778WhBhr7dfnodqaNC7CpbIZS7hi/1GvtpAxsjm07yWgpm8M93L8ghFn/W/OrG54XYfL0B9VGv6LMrMZRAQ%3D%3D&reflink=article_email_share

Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field (SDF)), Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, Muhammad Ali, Louisville KY:

Ali’s widow Lonnie Ali called the champion a “global citizen,” according to the release, but added “he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy.”

While the airport’s name will change, its current three-letter International Air Transport Association (IATA) code — SDF — won’t change.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/louisville-international-airport-renamed-muhammad-ali-vote-today-2019-01-16/

And I loved this anecdote on Facebook by Dave Kindred …

News that my old town, Louisville, is renaming its airport for Muhammad Ali reminds me of an old story. Flight attendant tells the champ he must buckle his seat belt, to which he says, “Superman don’t need a seat belt.” Flight attendant says, “Superman don’t need a plane” Champ buckles up.

1.15.19

Quotes: Besides the poetry quotes, I pondered these this week …

“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. Every advance into knowledge opens new prospects, and produces new incitements to further progress.”

— Samuel Johnson, Rambler

“It was on a bright day of midwinter, in New York. The little girl who eventually became me, but as yet was neither me nor anybody else in particular, but merely a soft anonymous morsel of humanity—this little girl, who bore my name, was going for a walk with her father. The episode is literally the first thing I can remember about her, and therefore I date the birth of her identity from that day.”

– Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”

― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“Eternity is in love with the productions of time.”

— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”

-Herman Melville – from “Moby Dick”

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

– Martin Luther

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/martin_luther_140721

In the vast abyss before time, self

is not, and soul commingles

with mist, and rock, and light. In time,

soul brings the misty self to be.

Then slow time hardens self to stone

while ever lightening the soul,

till soul can loose its hold of self

and both are free and can return

to vastness and dissolve in light,

the long light after time.

-Ursula K. Le Guin, HOW IT SEEMS TO ME

LOL, Brexit: brexit shouldn’t be funny … but I laughed.


LOL, POTUS, Clemson visits the White House, Govern Shutdown, “The Fast Supper”, #Cofveve #hamberders #Funny #NotFunnyToo:

1.17.19

LOL, POTUS, political cartoons:

I often don’t agree with “God,” but I frequently laugh.

1.18.19

LOL, dog employee of the month:

This is the story about a distribution sales manager who works from home. Michael Reeg from Georgia has a dog Meeka which he considers as a real asset. He considers the dog as a best friend because it doesn’t allow him to feel lonely during work hours. The dog has in a way eased the transition of Michael Reeg to the telecommuting. Meeka is quite punctual. She turns up to the work regardless the presence of Michael. She goes there like every model employee would do for his employer. Meeka is quite enthusiastic for the work, when she finds the door of the office shut, she doesn’t leave for taking a rest. Instead she prefers to sit outside the door. Michael Reeg was interviewed by The Dodo. He said that transitioning to home based work was not an easy thing. He said that it was quiet and devoid of excitement. Thus, according to him, the dog helped him cover that journey.

Source: Man who works from home keeps naming his dog employee of the month, https://www.talkofweb.com/man-who-works-from-home-keeps-naming-his-dog-employee-of-the-month/

15
Jan
19

1.14.19 … “Hiraeth describes a deep, inborn sense of yearning for a home, a feeling, a place or person that is beyond this plane of existence”

FPC – Charlotte, TMBS, vocabulary, word nerd, hireath, thin places: We began our FPC – Charlotte TMBS with a discussion of hiraeth and thin places.

1.8.19

Breadcoins, Cary Umhau, Washington DC:

I’m so excited by this article about Breadcoin. Cary is a co-founder!


Quentin Wilson, 56, uses a “Breadcoin” to buy breakfast Friday from Naomi Banks at the Mission Muffins food truck. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post)

Jeffrey Carter, who is homeless, carried two gold-colored coins in his palm as he approached the Mission Muffins cafe trailer in Northwest Washington to exchange them for a breakfast burrito and apple juice.

The quarter-size coins — each worth $2.20 and inscribed with part of the Lord’s Prayer and an image of wheat — were “Breadcoins,” a new form of currency in the District intended for people in need.

Inspired by the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Breadcoins have circulated in the District since 2016, but they are still relatively unknown. They are an option for people who worry that giving money to those in need might be used to fuel an addiction.

Source: ‘Breadcoin’ is a new currency in D.C. for people in need – The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/01/11/breadcoin-is-new-currency-dc-people-need/

1.11.19

Kith/kin, UNC-CH, student mental health: For years I have received the DTH daily email. I rarely read it. But today, I clicked on it and there was the daughter of one of my best friends. Nice shout out to e, Eleanor!

Does CAPS' referral system work?

Eleanor Murray, a first-year public policy and global studies major, at the James A. Taylor Building, where Counseling and Psychological Services is located, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019.  “As someone who did not realize I had mental health issues, it was helpful and resourceful and I felt supported while trying to find a therapist,” Murray says of her experience with CAPS. Murray would recommend CAPS and likes the multiple treatment options offered at CAPS.

Source: Does CAPS’ referral system work? – The Daily Tar Heel, https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2019/01/caps-short-term-therapy-experiences-0114

1.14.19

Georgetown SC, DeBordieu: One of my favorite places …

From surf and sand to sightseeing and beyond, Myrtle Beach is always a good idea. But, when it’s time for a break from the buzz of the Grand Strand, head less than an hour south to Georgetown, one of six towns that make up the Hammock Coast. Here, you’ll have easy access to a multitude of activities, museums, and dining options. Read on for our affordable guide to the highlights of South Carolina’s third oldest city.

Source: Southern Hospitality Meets Modern Style in Georgetown, South Carolina, 
https://www.shermanstravel.com/advice/easy-southern-escapes-georgetown-south-carolina

1.8.19

Coffee Shops, Third Place, Burney’s Sweets and More, New places: Barb and I enjoying this just opened bakery, as in yesterday. And I will go back!

Barb and I were discussing where to meet. I receive a daily email called Charlotte Agenda which had just this day mentioned this new bakery. I had not realized it was it’s second day until they asked if they could take our picture.

Give Burney’s a try! Bakery known for its fried stuffed croissants now open near Uptown – Charlotte Agenda, https://www.charlotteagenda.com/153909/bakery-known-for-its-fried-stuffed-croissants-now-open-near-uptown/

And I think this could be a great “third place.”

I recently read a book by Ray Oldenburg – The Great Good Place – which suggested another happy place candidate, perhaps the most viable of all. The book is scholarly but accessible, an anthropological / sociological analysis of cafés, coffee shops, bars, and other hangouts. The book introduced to me a new term – third place – that made instant sense.

Third places are where people congregate other than work or home. England has pubs, France has cafés, and Austria has coffee houses. Once upon a time in the United States, common third places included country stores, post offices, barber shops, hair salons, soda shops, and taverns.

As described by Oldenburg, third places share common features. First, they are neutral, meaning that all people can come and go without penalty. If you don’t go to your third place for a few days or weeks, your return is greeted with interest and enthusiasm. Contrast that with work or home, where your eventual return after days of absence would be greeted with a pink slip or divorce papers.

Source: Happy Places: Third Places | Psychology Today, 
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-good-life/200912/happy-places-third-places

cider v cider, I remember the first time …,

I remember discovering alcoholic cider when I traveled to England with my sis in 1978. I liked it!

In the American state of New Hampshire, the state beverage of apple cider is like unfiltered apple juice. Usually, mulled spices are added, turning it into a spiced, piping hot drink. But in the famed cider-growing region of Britain’s West Country, cider is a fermented, alcoholic beverage. Look further across Europe and you’ll find that America’s version of apple cider is the outlier—cidre in France and sidra in Spain are both akin to British hard cider, rather than the American mulled beverage. So, how did Americans end up with such a unique form of apple cider?

People have been making cider for thousands of years. Wild apples, Malus sylvestris, grew naturally in the ancient British Isles. The Romans encouraged apple cultivation for cider, and when Christian monks established monasteries, they also made the beverage. When European settlers traveled to North America, they took cider with them.

Source: Why Cider Means Something Completely Different in America and Europe – Gastro Obscura, https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-is-american-cider-nonalcoholic

1.10.19

Street art, public art, Charlotte NC: And some Charlotte street art … I have a few favorites.

Charlotte’s mural scene is on the rise. Large-scale painting events like Talking Walls Mural Festivaland #nodacanjam help bring local and national artists together to crank out multiple pieces at the same time. And developers and businesses are catching on to the value of investing in public art, as you’ll see in places like South End’s Design Center, as well as at a number of apartment complexes.

The following is a hefty guide to where you can find more than 60 murals around town.

Source: The definitive guide to 60+ Charlotte street murals, mapped – Charlotte Agenda, https://www.charlotteagenda.com/153556/the-definitive-guide-to-60-charlotte-street-murals-mapped/

Neel Reid, Brookwood Hills, Atlanta GA,

Some Neel Reid and Brookwood Hills history for you.

The house is perfectly balanced, and though the facade appears plain at first sight, the bold ornaments draw the eye — the pediment across the front, balanced above a smaller pediment over a wide, ornate doorway topped by a sunken half circle.

These elements tell you the work you are looking at is not by your average architect but by an artist — a poet if you will — a man who brought beauty and precision to everything he touched.

Built in 1922, the house at 14 Palisades Road is the last man standing in a way.

It is one of seven Neel Reid designed just north of Ansley Park, a small settlement of houses designed by one of the South’s preeminent architects before there was a Brookwood Hills, and when Buckhead was several miles north on Peachtree Road.

Source: Brookwood Hills home one of seven originals and the last standing | Opinion | mdjonline.com, https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/northside_sandy_springs/opinion/brookwood-hills-home-one-of-seven-originals-and-the-last/article_7400e9bc-1495-11e9-9300-cbcd24a794df.html

Longest Shutdown, Peggy Noonan:

I’ll throw in some­thing else I think we agree on. Gov­ern­ing by shut­down is ig­no­rant, cow­ardly and de­struc­tive. It is un­just to the in­no­cent, who are forced to deal with re­duced ser­vices, closed agen­cies and missed pay­checks. It’s dan­ger­ous: Some­thing bad will hap­pen with air se­cu­rity, food in­spec­tion—some­thing. It’s de­mor­al­iz­ing: It makes Amer­ica look in­com­pe­tent in the world, un­sta­ble, like an empty ad­ver­sary and in­ca­pable friend. It harms the de­mo­c­ra­tic spirit be­cause it so vividly tells Amer­i­cans—rubs their faces in it—that they’re pawns in a game as both par­ties pur­sue their self­ish ends.

Source:
End This Stupid Shutdown

1.10.19

Shutdown, Youngstown Steel, SCOTUS, Presidential Powers, US Constitution:

Justice Hugo Black delivered the majority opinion for the Court. Although it was the decision of the majority, it was clear that the Justices were split on a number of issues, as there five concurring opinions entered as well. Justice Black’s decision found for the steel industry, declaring that “[t]he President’s power, if any, to issue the order must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself. There is no statute that expressly authorizes the President to take possession of property as he did here. Nor is there any act of Congress…from which such a power can be fairly implied.” The Court also found that, “[i]n the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.”

Amongst the concurring opinions, and even compared to the majority opinion, Justice Robert Jackson’s still stands out today as the most useful in assessing the extent of executive power. Justice Jackson rejected strict boundaries between Congressional and Presidential power, and instead divided Presidential authority into three categories of legitimacy. First, and most legitimate, were cases in which “[t]he President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress.” Second, is when Congress has been silent on the issue. And finally, “[w]hen the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb.”

President Truman was shocked by the decision. He immediately ordered the return of the steel mills to their owners, and the workers went on strike right away. The strike lasted more than 50 days. The effect of the Court’s decision limiting Presidential powers, however, has continued to impact executive decision-making throughout our nation’s history.

Source: Youngstown Steel: The Supreme Court stands up to the President – National Constitution Center, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/youngstown-steel-the-supreme-court-stands-up-to-the-president

1.8.19

Shutdown:

There’s a lot at stake here — much more than just the next craft beer to be discovered and Instagrammed.

What spiritual practices is your congregation taking on in the new year? … such as ….walking a labyrinth … And a shout out to Katie Crowe!

For some, that means a deepening commitment to spiritual practices – to a regular, intentional discipline of taking the time to draw closer to God.

Congregants at First Presbyterian in Conway, Arkansas, learned about various postures for prayer – raising their arms as a passage from Mark’s Gospel was read, to worship God with all their souls.

People both inside and outside of churches are using all sorts of practices – such as centering prayer or walking a labyrinth or using lectio divina to read Scripture. Some have roots in ancient practices of early Christianity. Some involve silence; some seek God’s presence through art or movement.

Some tap into technology – using apps such as Pray as You Go, which draws from Ignatian spirituality and gives folks material to listen to while out for a walk or commuting to work or school.

Practicing a spiritual discipline can be communal work as well.

Quotes: I collect quotes. This is a good place to share a few.

I’m reading the preview chapter of “A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time” by Sarah Arthur.

I love the dedication.

“For my young sons, Micah and Sam. May you tesser well.”

https://media.harpercollinschristian.com/files/z/PDF/LightSoLovely_samptxt.pdf

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

— Ode on a Grecian Urn”

To be silent does not mean to be inactive; rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Meditating on the Word”

“Manners are what hold a society together .. that and a reliable postal system. Propriety is concern for other people. When that goes out the window the gates of hell are surely opened and ignorance is king”

– Jane Austen

It is an ongoing temptation to think of ourselves as living under a curse. The loss of a friend, an illness, an accident, a natural disaster, a war, or any failure can make us quickly think that we are no good and are being punished. This temptation to think of our lives as full of curses is even greater when all the media present us day after day with stories about human misery.

Jesus came to bless us, not to curse us. But we must choose to receive that blessing and hand it on to others. Blessings and curses are always placed in front of us. We are free to choose. God says, Choose the blessings!

Source: Henri Nouwen Society | Daily Meditation | Henri Nouwen Society,

https://henrinouwen.org/resources/daily-meditation/

LOL, Art School of Fish:

10
Jan
19

1.10.19 … It propelled us inward … we were going to the center whether we wanted to or not!

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Catherine Anderson’s Private Labyrinths – Charlotte:

I have walked Catherine Anderson’s Private Chartres labyrinth many times and her newer classical labyrinth once before. To walk them one after the other allowed me to compare my experiences.

I walked with Toni who always awakens me to new observations. Catherine knew we were coming, and we said hello before we walked. Catherine was visiting with Kathy Mansfield. Both Catherine and Kathy are labyrinth gurus. So it was fun to pick their brains a bit, both before our walk and after over tea.

A few observations: 1. the weather was cool but sunny, actually perfect. The cool sunny day made the greens in the yard pop. 2. As for the green in the yard, Catherine is encouraging the moss to take over the labyrinth. Her husband has been tasked with removing any remaining grass. I can’t wait to walk barefoot in the spring. 3. The small river stones forming the boundary popped with white. Catherine recently went over them with a chalk marker. It really helped me stay on the path. 4. This labyrinth is a small full Chartres, so it is tight. Because it is tight, I have to really try to be quiet in order to avoid distractions and stay on the path. 5. That said, I loved the visual and audio intrusions: the sunlight coming through the trees, the Buddha sitting in the swing, the cairn at the center, and the gentle sound of the wind, of the chimes playing in the wind and of the water flowing in the fountain. 6. I also loved sharing the time and space with Toni. There is something thought-provoking to me about walking side by side for a few steps and then turning away abruptly and then re-encountering her again a few minutes later.

Each time I walk here, I realize that I am a wee bit jealous of Catherine’s labyrinth. I want one of my own for my private walks and to share.

Before we walked, Catherine reminded us that she has a second labyrinth. This labyrinth is a classical labyrinth and is laid out with much larger rocks in an adjacent hidden wooded area, and, today, it was covered with leaves. It is wilder, unstructured, primal even. It made me want to dance!

Everything about this walk was different. Walking on the dead leaves made me focus on quieting my mind as I tried to block out the crunching sound of my feet on the leaves. Toni noted that she experienced ”a stark sensation of spiraling inward” and that it was “dizzying.” It propelled us inward … we were going to the center whether we wanted to or not! We laughed when she thought she became disoriented, thinking she was off the path, not knowing whether to turn right or left, when the answer was to keep going straight.

Afterwards we enjoyed tea with Catherine and Kathy. We each tried a new variety, peach ginger rooibos (a South African blend, perfect for tea with Catherine who is from South Africa). I learned so much in that half hour. Maybe 2019 will be my year to do facilitator training. Catherine is doing one here and also a retreat at ghost ranch with Lauren Artress.

And I found this wonderful reminder from Lauren Artress… “Aristotle once said that the highest form of brain function is metaphoric thinking. When we are thinking metaphorically, the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Our experience becomes a way of teaching us about the bigger picture.”

Here is a bit on Catherine and labyrinths:

“In 2009, with the help of my husband and son, I created a labyrinth in our backyard based on the medieval labyrinth design found at Chartres Cathedral in France. The labyrinth is created out of white stones laid in trenches between the sections of grass. I walk the labyrinth as ameditative practice, especially when I need some creative inspiration and need to get out of my head and back into my body. Walking a labyrinth is a kinesthetic meditation. You do it with your whole body. Walking the labyrinth can also be creatively stimulating. I highly recommend that you look for a labyrinth in your area and make time to walk the spiraling path to the center. You never know how it might change your life!”

Source: Source: Labyrinths — Creative Pilgrimage, https://www.creativepilgrimage.com/labyrinths/

And here are two of her Veriditas sponsored events:

Veriditas – FACILITATOR TRAINING in Charlotte NC with Veriditas Faculty Catherine Anderson,

https://www.veriditas.org/event-3162432

SEEING THE WORLD WITH WONDER – MAKING MEANING THROUGH IMAGE, STORY AND THE LABYRINTH — Creative Pilgrimage,

https://www.creativepilgrimage.com/live-events/2019/5/6/seeing-the-world-with-wonder-making-meaning-through-image-story-and-the-labyrinth

1.10.19

09
Jan
19

1.8.19 … “I tell the law students I address now and then, if you’re going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, well, you have a skill, so you’re very much like a plumber.”… “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but for one’s community.” – RBG

Professionalism, Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Just last week I was discussing professionalism. RBG sums it up nicely:

Reading Challenge:

An interesting list. I’ve only read a few and my favorite memoir is not on her list.

The eleventh category in the 2018 Reading Challenge is “a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction.” I love all three genres, but when it comes to books I’m likely to keep coming back to, memoir takes the cake.

I love the genre; I’ve read many over the years. Today I’m sharing 15 of my favorites, “favorite” in this case meaning the ones I keep coming back to. I’ve read these 2 or 3 or even a dozen times. (I’m looking at you, Kathleen Norris.)

A special note for audiobook fans: I love listening to memoirs, especially when the author reads her own story. I’ve made a special note below of the books I loved on audio.

Source: 15 engaging and inspiring memoirs I keep coming back to – Modern Mrs. Darcy, https://modernmrsdarcy.com/engaging-memoirs-worth-rereading/

Kith/kin, Grand Canyon NP:

Jack is hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon this week, 1.5.19-1.10.19. And to think I birthed him.

Legends and Lore Historical Markers, Highlands NC:

At the December Town Board meeting, he introduced the Legends and Lore Program which was launched in 2015 in New York State. The program promotes cultural tourism and commemorates legends and folklore as part of cultural heritage.

Everyone is familiar with the highway markers designating historical aspects of an area – Highlands has three – but the Legends and Lore Program is relatively new and is just now being expanded nationwide, with North Carolina, the second state to get involved, said Shaffner.

He asked the board to give permission by letter for the Highlands Historical Society to pursue inclusion in the program to commemorate the Moccasin War which took place in Highlands in 1885.

A red sign, 18 inches by 30 inches and about four feet off the ground would pinpoint the place the war took place – in the center of Main Street at the 4th and Main intersection – with a sign that will read: The Moccasin War was fought here in 1885. Moonshiners from Georgia laid siege on Highlands to rescue their folk. War ends with a threat and a prayer. Pictured at the top of the article is an artist’s rendition of how the “legend” sign would look at the beginning of the 4th Street block.

Source: Highlands’ Moccasin War to live on – Plateau Daily News, https://plateaudailynews.com/2019/01/06/highlands-moccasin-war-to-live-on/

Epiphany, Tudor Crown:

I found this interesting out Epiphany.

This magnificent crown is a re-creation of a Tudor crown that was melted down in 1649. The original would have been worn by Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace, particularly on the feast of #Epiphany on 6 January. Henry would process to the Chapel Royal in full regalia to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh, celebrating the visit of the Three Kings. Read on about the crown: bit.ly/henryviiicrown

Christie Taylor:

Congratulations, Christie! And I love”A Day at the Circus!”

Taylor, 67, officially retired from Hodges Taylor Dec. 31, but she’d been easing her way out of day-to-day management for several years – ever since she found an heir she and Hodges, who retired about eight years ago, trusted. Lauren Harkey, 32, who’d been working with Taylor for the last three years, took over as 2019 began. 

So now Taylor pursues a dream.

“There’s a theory that we’re our most authentic selves at 6,” she said. “So, whatever you wanted to be when you were 6 is probably what you’ve found a way to become. Maybe not literally … If you wanted to be a firefighter, you may not be that exactly, but you probably help people in crisis.”


Source: Longtime Charlotte art gallery owner calls an end to that career to become … an artist | Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article223697180.html

14
Dec
18

12.14.18 … “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

Christmas Tradition # 9: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” a.k.a. “A Christmas Carol” (1843)

When I was in my early 30s, I realized that all three of the Lindsey siblings had a love and fascination with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and I knew where it it came from. My father was cast as Scrooge in the school play in second grade at Spring Street School in Atlanta. So Scrooge and “Bah Humbug” was a much a part of my cultural Christmas as Santa and “Ho, ho, ho!”

So how has this been incorporated into my celebration. I‘ve got at least 10 versions of the book, from reprints of the first edition, board book versions for toddlers, abridged early reader versions, graphic novel versions to just straight up paperback copies. I’ve got multiple audio readings including a copy of a BBC dramatic reading. I’ve seen theatrical versions in Atlanta, Louisville, Chicago and Charlotte. And then there are the film adaptations.

According to IMDb, there are at least 202 film adaptations:

“These are many examples from among the varied film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” a.k.a. “A Christmas Carol” (1843). This list starts with the finest film adaptation, and has the rest of these selections in release-or-production-year order. It consists of traditional versions (that is, ones that each include a character named ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ and are set wholly in 19th century England) and also (with and without spirits) other parodies and variations of or takes on this story.

Source: Various “A Christmas Carol” Film Adaptations (Also Includes Films with Non-Traditional Stories) – IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/list/ls050850349/

Besides the Christmas stories that are Biblical in origin, Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic telling of A Christmas Carol remains one of the longest-running, most-adapted, and most-relevant holiday tales to date. More than 170 years after the infamous miser-turned-do-gooder Ebenezer Scrooge entered our culture for the first time, there are still quite a few folks out there who could do with taking this timeless lesson to heart. I’d suggest they take the time to do what I did and watch 20 or so adaptations of A Christmas Carol until the moral sinks in, but the good-willed among you who don’t need a lesson from the spirits can check out our ranked list to see which version is most worthy of your time.

From the silent film that’s the oldest known theatrical adaptation in existence to the latest contemporary computer-animated feature film, A Christmas Carol has been presented in a number of different media over the decades. Each generation has enjoyed its own iteration of the classic tale, but our current generation has the unprecedented ability to access each and every one of those adaptations at a whim. With that in mind, here are 20 that should be on your watchlist.

Source: A Christmas Carol Adaptations Ranked from Worst to Best | College, http://collider.com/a-christmas-carol-adaptations-ranked/

My favorites? I’m partial to Alastair Sim (1951), George C Scott (1984), Patrick Stewart (1991) and Bill Murray’s “Scrooged” (1988). I’m not fond of the 2009 computer-animated version that starred Jim Carrey. I also like the Muppet version and several animated versions.

I have watched two more versions this year: 1. “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017) with Dan Stevens which I recommend (“This 2017 addition to the canon of A Christmas Carol takes a different tack in that it follows Dickens himself, played by Dan Stevens, on his journey toward writing and publishing the timeless tale. Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and the familiar Ghosts of Christmas still make an appearance, but from a skewed perspective that takes quite a few liberties with Dickens’ life. In other words, it’s a fictionalized tale about a remarkable writer of fiction, and one that seems to borrow from the canon than it adds to it.”); and 2. “Mister Scrooge To See You” (2013), the Christian evangelical version which I do not recommend.

But my family incorporates “A Christmas Carol” into the holiday with more than just readings, film and theater. I decorate with it. My Christmas Village is a “Dickens’ Village,” and years ago I found a wonderful set of hand painted cloth figure ornaments by Gladys Boalt. (See below for that story. ) And I gifted some to my brother.


So clearly my family’s focus on the story is not unique. I googled “A Christmas Carol cultural significance.” And I found this:

This was Dickens’ main reason for writing A Christmas Carol. He wanted his readers to realise that, if they continued to deny poor children the necessities of life – such as food, shelter, warm clothing, healthcare and an education – they would grow up to become dangerous, violent adults. The child born in a workhouse who was not as fortunate as Oliver Twist, or the impoverished child who didn’t die young like Little Nell, would grow up to become another Bill Sikes, Fagin, Little Em’ly or Daniel Quilp.

Source: BBC – Culture – How did A Christmas Carol come to be?, http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20171215-how-did-a-christmas-carol-come-to-be

And this …

[BEGIN QUOTE]

The book had two significant impacts on western culture. It is often said that Dickens invented the modern Christmas (there is even an upcoming film called The Man Who Invented Christmas, about the writing of the tale). That is an overstatement, but Dickens did help revitalize Christmas and set the foundation for the modern image of Christmas.

Christmas, as a celebration, has waxed and waned since the fourth century. In the 1640s, a movement within the Presbyterian Church, in Scotland, evolved into the Westminster Director (AKA Directory for Public Worship) which prohibited the celebration of Christmas and other festival days under the idea that the Bible only called for the observation of the Sabbath as a holy day.

“Ordered – that in the Directory for the Sabbath-day something be expressed against parish feasts, commonly called by the name of rushbearings, whitsunales, wakes, as profane and superstitious.” “Ordered – Being the only standing holy day under the new Testament to be kept by all the churches of Christ.” “Consider of something concerning holy days and holy places, and what course may be thought upon for the relief of servants (to meet to-morrow in the afternoon) wakes, and feasts, whitsunales, rushbearings, and garlands, and all such like superstitious customs.”

In 1660, when Charles I recovered the throne from those dastardly puritan parliamentarians, the Westminster Director was purged and Christmas was allowed to return, but it was muted.

The puritan Presbyterians took their bah humbug spirit to America and celebration of holy days other than the Sabbath was prohibited. Only in 1788 did they amend their standards to allow observation of “days of fasting and thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of divine providence may direct, we judge both scriptural and rational.” At the time of publication of A Christmas Carol, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists in America were still begrudgingly tolerated mild acknowledgement of Christmas as a holiday.

Other religious groups were much more open to the celebration, but this fragmentation meant there was no common imagination of Christmas. Dickens drew such a vivid portrait idealizing Christmas traditions and practices and then distributed that depiction around the world. Readers were captivated and wanted their own piece of that world. He created a market for Christmas stories that would later make Santa Claus a household name. While certainly not shying from the Christian origins of the holiday, Dickens showed that the spirit of Christmas was one that could be shared by believers and non-believers alike – essentially creating the secular Christmas.

The other significant impact is the one Dickens set out to make when he wrote the story. At that Manchester speech, Dickens had spoken of ignorance and want. He was horrified by a world in which the poor and suffering were ignored and taken advantage of. He was horrified by the child labor situation in his country. When he has the Ghost of Christmas Present open his robe to reveal the two tiny children, Ignorance and Want, at his feet, Dickens was positing a progressive idea – the idea that employers are responsible for the welfare of their employees – that those who had benefited had a debt to those who had not. He states this more broadly when he has the ghost of Marley say:

“It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”

But the example Dickens uses is Scrooge’s responsibility to care for the well-being of his employee, Bob Cratchit, and Bob Cratchit’s family – particularly the infirm child, Tiny Tim.

[END QUOTE]

Source: How “A Christmas Carol” Came to Be Such a Massively Important Cultural Touchstone,

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-a-christmas-carol-came-to-be-such-a-massively_us_5a04e3cae4b0cc46c52e6936

And this …

[BEGIN QUOTE] The story was a foundational text for the distinctly Victorian version of Christmas which remains familiar today, with roast bird, festive cheer and homiletic tone.

Both the novella and this newspaper grew out of a period of intense political and economic turbulence. Rampant industrialisation was transforming Britain’s landscape; increasingly globalised trade had created new pressures, pitting established interests against a restive and maltreated working class. While The Economist was clear in its aim to champion free trade and classical liberalism, the ideological bent of “A Christmas Carol” was more equivocal.

Many of the Victorian readers who drove the book’s initial popularity were drawn by its amenability to Biblical allegory, more than any perceived political message. By the Edwardian era, it was largely read as a whimsical children’s story. It was only in the 20th century that “A Christmas Carol” was taken up by literary critics who attempted to parse its political subtext. Its economic ideas are valuable, too. [BEGIN QUOTE]

Source: The economic sensibilities of “A Christmas Carol” – Ghost Domestic Product, https://www.economist.com/prospero/2018/12/14/the-economic-sensibilities-of-a-christmas-carol

And Charlotte has a new event:

Take a break from shopping and come sip some cider with us and celebrate the true spirit of the holidays. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (www.cmlibrary.org), Charlotte Center for Literary Arts (www.charlottelit.org), and Charlotte Film Society (www.charlottefilmsociety.com) are partnering on a terrific new event this year: a read-aloud of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, paired with a film screening of the book’s famous 1951 adaptation starring Alastair Sim.

Source: Caroling, Cider, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol! | ImaginOn, https://www.imaginon.org/blog/caroling-cider-and-charles-dickens’-christmas-carol

So using Dickens’ closing words:

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

***

There is a side story about the Gladys Boalt hand painted ornaments. I first saw them when I was visiting NYC with my sister in 1983. They were an “exclusive” to a small quilt shop. We both fell in love with them. She bought Scrooge, but I was too poor or too cheap or both.

An experienced needleworker and fabric store owner, Gladys Boalt had already been creating wonderful boutique items for an exclusive New York shop when she was asked to try her hand at creating soft-sculpture Christmas ornaments. More than twenty years later Ms. Boalt is the proud creator of an exclusive line of historically accurate, highly-detailed figural ornaments that are so inspired, they have even been chosen to adorn the White House Christmas tree. 

Each Boalt ornament is a small work of art involving as many as fifty separate steps. Completely hand-sewn by talented members of Ms. Boalt’s New England women’s cooperative, the little figures and tiny costumes are complete with authentic period details. Gladys Boalt personally hand paints every face, then signs and dates each piece.

Source: Gladys Boalt Collection, http://www.christmasatthezoo.com/orig/web/ornaments/boalt.html

Now skip forward almost 20 years … I was living in Chicago and I visiting with new neighbors, Kate and Ralph Russell, and Kate had the Gladys Boalt A Christmas Carol ornaments! I had never seen them again. She had bought them while on her honeymoon during the same time period in NYC in the same quilt shop that I had originally seen them, and she knew the shop’s name, The Gazebo. So with the modern Internet I was able to find the shop and they still sold them. But in addition, there were exclusive retailers in Chicago and Atlanta. So I got my set of the ornaments.

Gladys Boalt ornaments are completely handmade in the USA. The designs are traditional, as interpreted by Gladys Boalt. All Boalt Ornaments share certain unique characteristics. Some of these include:

  • Individually handpainted and hand-shaped faces with incredible detailing that gives characterization to muslin and stuffing.

  • Sewn and painted body detail.

  • Sewn, painted and applied clothing, always in the style of the period or of the story book characterization.

  • Every Boalt ornament is signed and copyright dated.

  • The charm of all ornaments is at least partially found in their existence in memory, as well as their elusiveness, appearing, as they do, out of hiding each year to make Christmas memories.

Source: Our Products : WeedHouse, Gladys Boalt Ornaments, http://www.weedhouse.com/page.html?id=3

And I found this:

05
Dec
18

12.5.18 … And Let the Season begin! …

Christmas Tradition #3: Celebrating the birth of the brother.

We call it St. Edmas Day. And in my family, Christmas shopping and decorating didn’t begin until after December 5. I don’t know if my mom intended it to continue 60 years, but her saving Christmas until after Edward’s day just seemed like the right thing, so I generally do it, too.

This year, I ran across this Henri Nouwen quote and have shared it with several of you on your birthdays. It seems appropriate to share again for my BIG brother’s BIG 6-0hhh!

“Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: ‘Thank you for being you.’ Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: ‘Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.’ No, we say: ‘Thank you for being born and being among us.’

On birthdays we celebrate the present. We do not complain about what happened or speculate about what will happen, but we lift someone up and let everyone say: ‘We love you.'” #HenriNouwen HERE AND NOW

And maybe, just maybe, I can refocus Christmas and say “Thank you for being born and being among us.”

So, happy birthday, Edward!

And Let the Season begin!

12.5.18




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