December 3, 2014

Gift Wrapping.  I have never been good at gift wrapping.  I’ve always been embarrassed by my results.  I have thus never enjoyed it.  Just this week, in the midst of the activity, I decided that I would not wrap any more gifts.  Since I don’t like the idea of putting gifts in decorated bags, I’ve decided that from now on, I’ll present them with a card, unwrapped.  If for some reason I feel that wrapping is appropriate, I’ll pay for someone to wrap for me.  Why the continued frustration?  Why the waste of tape and paper and time?  No reason.  The activity is out of my life now.

Magnificat.  The Magnificat is the expression of Mary’s acceptance of God’s calling to be Mother.  It is the acceptance of the will of God, and the appreciation of God’s calling.  There are many expression of the idea, based on Luke 1:46-53.  This expression is from Mary Louise Bringle (#100, Gather: Third Edition, Choir Edition, GIA Publications, Chicago, 2004):  “My soul gives glory to my God / Who reaches down with loving grace / To lift me from my low estate / And set me in the highest place. / Magnificat, Magnificat / With all my heart, I answer Yes / When God announces wondrous news / And every age shall call me blest.”

In a local Protestant church newsletter, the title for an article on the theme is “Bring It On, God, I Can Handle This For You.”

Reading.  Fiction.  John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent (1961).  This is Steinbeck’s last published novel.  As an introduction, Steinbeck writes, “Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search their own hearts, for this book is about a large part of America today.”  The novel explores the idea of material success and its costs.  The protagonist sells his soul for financial success with the encouragement of others in his life.  His ignoble decisions and their effects on his family, himself, and others show how moral corruption happens in the context of a society which encourages such actions.  It’s a book that would serve well for discussions at book groups, especially those who have an interest in ethics.  I had not read this book previously, and it will remain in my mind for a long time.

Reading.  Nonfiction.  Joseph Mitchell, “Days in the Branch,” The New Yorker, December 1, 2014.  Mitchell grew up in Robeson County, NC, and left to become a writer at The New Yorker.  The magazine published this chapter from a memoir he never published about his life as a boy there, especially his spending time outside observing Nature.  Example:  “On the slopes rising upward from the banks of the stream on both sides of the branch were old long-leaf pines and old water oaks and old swamp maples and old sweet gum and old hollies and old magnolias and old sweet bays and old swamp hickories and old black walnuts and old wild persimmons and old wild cherries and old dogwoods.  At the feet of many of these trees, ferns grew.  On the trunks of many of them, mosses grew.  On the upper limbs of many of them, mistletoe grew.”

Thank you for reading.  I hope your December has started well and that you will enjoy these last weeks of autumn.


About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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