Joy, sharing gifts – Saint Nicholas Day

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

saint nicholasAs you may know, “Saint Nicholas became a priest, and later, a Bishop of the early Catholic Church. True to the Christian concept of giving up belongings and following Christ, St. Nicholas gave up all of his belongings.

“He was well known for giving to needy people, especially children. There are many stories and tales of him helping out children in need.”

What I had somehow missed, though, was that St. Nicholas Day commemorates his death on December 6th.”

Arthur linked to the Vlogbrothers’ call for more celebration. The AmeriNZ writes: “These days, people don’t celebrate enough… Most of us ignore the little things, and not so little things, that go on all the time. We need to celebrate the little things, the small victories, because they make the bigger ones possible.”

I think this is fundamentally true. And maybe it’s because the world is scary, and life can be difficult, I think it’s more important than ever.

Arthur also linked to an Apple video called Share Your Gifts. “In the ad, a young woman is creative, but won’t share her gift with the world until the dog intervenes. I have found this can happen in real life…

He wondered if “a certain subset of Americans would be outraged that the ad is called ‘Holiday’, but it really has nothing to do with any one particular holiday, does it?”

Well, maybe someone will take offense. But the Bible is filled with Scripture that discuss sharing gifts.

For instance, in 1 Corinthians 12 – that’s cited as 1st Corinthians, BTW – “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit…”

My Saint Nicholas Day wish is that we express joy, appreciating our gifts and the gifts of others. These could be wonderful presents that cost nothing in terms of money, but may pay dividends nonetheless.

The Lydster: belated thanks for the gifts

It’s much like how one might take bills one cannot afford to pay and stuff them into a drawer, irrationally hoping they will go away.

When The Daughter was born, we received some lovely and generous gifts from friends and family. Being raised correctly, we tried to send out thank you notes right away. But we were tired, trying to get a handle on this parenting thing.

Finally, in October 2004, only seven months later, we wrote up a bunch of cards of appreciation. Not so bad, really.

My wife reminds me that we were even better with our wedding presents from 1999. The notes went out within three weeks, not bad since we spent nearly a week in Barbados. There were a couple items we were unable to identify – who gave us the $100 J.C. Penney gift card? – but for the most part, we were properly appreciative in a timely manner. And necessarily so, since the presents had taken over the living room.

This past winter, I was wading through a bunch of miscellaneous boxes that had made their way to the attic. I FOUND a handful of thank you cards from 2004! They were in envelopes, the cards filled with personalized messages about the special gifts people had gotten for us. The names were on the envelopes but not addresses; presumably we were going to look them up. They had 37 cent stamps already attached.

I was mortified and immediately threw them back into the box, much like how one might take bills one cannot afford to pay and stuff them into a drawer, irrationally hoping they will go away, which, for the record, seldom works.

So apologies to Jack in my current choir and his wife Sue, and to Lori from my previous choir. Those are the only names I saw before I stopped looking. Apologies to whomever else we failed to fulfill our social obligation.

Maybe next time I find them, I will put on the additional postage and actually mail them out. Hey, Lori, where ARE you in Florida? I’ve lost track.

September rambling: nothing to fear but Fear itself

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Vibes – Vivian Green (no relation)

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The graphic is courtesy of Amanda Peterson at Enlightened Digital

Confidence, gifts, words

WordsMelanie says: “Here’s my Christmas gift to you a tad late. Hope you like :)”

Who is someone in your life who helped to give you confidence? How did they do it?

The first to come to mind was my second, primary high school girlfriend. Not only was she fearless, but her boldness was also infectious. I was a really “good” kid, and she was a lot more challenging of authority. I’ve been a troublemaker ever since.

Then three years after I broke up with the Okie, she called me pretty much out of the blue, and she needed her detective skills to find me. She helped me put my head back together, because my self-confidence was pretty shot.

If you were only allowed to give one gift in your life, who would you give it to and what would it be?

Abstractly, I always wished I had had the means to pay off my parents’ house.

Perhaps, what I most want for The Daughter is for her to feel love and self-confidence. Is that two things? Oh well.

What is your favorite (or top three if that works better for you) word to say aloud? (I think mine would be disputatious- there is something substantial, unusual, and intensely satisfying in enunciating it for me, but winnowing is also a fun word to say because it uses muscles that don’t tend to get as much of a workout in daily speech.)

I had a friend named Vito Mastrogiovanni, who died from AIDS in 1991; I LOVED saying Mastrogiovanni. Another high school friend: her first name was Lonna, and she had a last name I can’t spell, but it was pronounced soo-hoe-vee-ET-ski.

Dien Bien Phu.

In the non-proper noun category: Onamonapia – gotta say it fast! Sesquicentennial. And many words in French (Rapprochement) or Italian (Tortellini) or German (Wiener Schnitzel) or other languages.

In the fictitious word category: Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic.

In general, I like repeated fricatives, such as vivacious.

Made me think of one of my favorite songs by the Monkees: Words.

Love ya!

And you.

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