Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 71:1-6

In te, Domine, speravi

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; *
let me never be ashamed.
2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5 For you are my hope, O Lord God, *
my confidence since I was young.
6 I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother's womb you have been my strength; *
my praise shall be always of you.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


You may run my bath now, says Sally.

Perhaps she HAS been watching too much Downton Abbey.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Music: Cornflake Girl (Tori Amos)

Friday mornings are often lazy breakfast days for me (day off!). And breakfast made me think of this Tori Amos song from 1994 - "Cornflake Girl."

The song is not about breakfast cereal, and this "official UK version video" is not about the women's issues that Amos had in mind , either, (although the US official video is closer but pretty strange). I just like it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday's Bird is in Disguise

In the winter, our resident goldfinches are a dull brown or olive with just a hint of gold under the neck. For a while, I thought they were just gone. But after seeing a pair of these on the nyger seed feeder, I recognized the wings and realized that the goldfinches are in disguise for the season.

I love having so many of God's creatures hanging around in our yard!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Poem - Billy Collins' Snow Day

Perhaps you are already dug out and off to school and work or whatever. I am, but many in my neighborhood are not - none of the schools are open. So here's a wonderful poem by the wonderful Billy Collins for everyone still living in that world of the Snow Day.

Snow Day

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch,
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed,
the All Aboard Children's School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with - some will be delighted to hear -

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School,
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and - clap your hands - the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Poem: Hope is the thing with feathers

Cedar waxwing in the snow

“Hope” is the thing with feathers 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - 
That perches in the soul - 
And sings the tune without the words - 
And never stops - at all - 

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard - 
And sore must be the storm - 
That could abash the little Bird 
That kept so many warm - 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land - 
And on the strangest Sea - 
Yet - never - in Extremity, 
It asked a crumb - of me.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Psalm

One of the best psalms out there. If you can't get to church, just ponder this.

Psalm 19

Caeli enarrant
The heavens declare the glory of God, *
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2 One day tells its tale to another, *
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
3 Although they have no words or language, *
and their voices are not heard,
4 Their sound has gone out into all lands, *
and their message to the ends of the world.
5 In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; *
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
6 It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again; *
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures for ever; *
the judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Caturday! With all the critters!

We have had lots of excitement here during the last week or so - we have a dog visiting (our grand dog, Baxter). The cats do not like having Baxter here, although Sally is hanging around near him now. Bella prefers to stay under a chair unless she knows he's in his crate. We also are having a big snow. So here's a selection of critter photos.

Baxter is not sure about the snow.

Both cats and dogs and people are enjoying watching birds at the feeders.

Bella prefers this spot most of the time.

Oops. I didn't mean to come in here.

I didn't either.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Poem

Mosaic of the Holy Family at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England, Boston

Now the Work of Christmas Begins

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

--Howard Thurman

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas: Magi Awake!

I learned about this picture today, which I found on Facebook, so it's not one of mine. A playful angel awakens the Magi to send them on their way. One finger pokes one Magi awake (eyes are popped open!) while the other finger points the way.

This image is carved on a capital above the choir in the Autun Cathedral of St. Lazare in Burgundy (France), a Romanesque structure built and rebuilt over hundreds of years. Most of the wonderful carvings are by Gislebertus. You can read more about the cathedral here.

Although this is the last day of Christmas (meaning tonight is Twelfth Night and tomorrow is Epiphany), my Christmas tree and decorations will remain in place for a few more weeks. We still have one more Christmas to celebrate with our son and daughter-in-law in January.

May we all retain the Christmas spirit for as long as we can!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Music for the 11th Day of Christmas - The Wexford Carol

Thank goodness we've still got a couple of days more of the Christmas season. Happy 11th Day - enjoy this favorite, The Wexford Carol, featuring Alison Krauss (singer), Yo-Yo Ma (cellist), and Natalie McMaster (fiddle).

And blessings for the New Year!


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