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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Demon Television

One week without television. One week. One looonngg week without television. We gave it up for Lent because our viewing had become extremely mindless. Just so much noise. However, I now realize this is much more about discipline than about entertainment, mindless or otherwise. We’ve even said, “Uh, how many days left in Lent? It is 40 days long, isn’t it?” Now we’re down to 33 days. There are a couple of programs which we will want to see so I’ve set the VCR to record them. We’ll watch them when Lent is over. One is “Jericho” which we liked last fall. New episodes are now out. The writer’s strike has ended so, presumably, other shows with crank up again too.

Now we’ve been listening to the music channels on the TV.  Guess what?  We surf those just like the shows until we land on something we like.  Music Choice has one-liners about the different artists or composers.  Boy, have we learned some thoroughly useless pieces of trivia.  Someone’s song “peaked at 192nd on the charts.”  Peaked?  Heavens, need a different word choice there.  “Roger Williams played for 12 hours straight on his 75th birthday in 2003.”  Did he get paid big bucks or was he going for a Guiness World Record?  Somebody “attended PS 102 in New York City.”  Sooo?  This is important to his music career?

Anyway, Bruce and I have had some good chuckles about some of the more irrelevant bits of info. So far we’ve stuck with it.  We will admit, it has taken both of us to stay firm.  Old habits die hard.  Soon we’ll be addicted to the music channels.  Maybe we can give up them next Lent!

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For Lent, we have given up watching television.  This is the third day.  The initial decision was difficult; the execution has been easier than I thought.

My first reaction at Bruce’s suggestion was “Does that mean no news?”  We can read the paper.  “No game shows?  No Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy?”  That comment brought a raised eyebrow.  The truth is – half the time in the evening it is just mindless background noise as we either read or work on our laptops.  Bruce got to the point he could say within the first 30 seconds of “Law and Order” or “CSI: Miami”  or any of the other cop shows we’re addicited to — “We’ve seen this four times.”  Yikes, need we “watch” it a fifth time?  Don’t think so.

The jury is still out on watching movies on DVDs.  Is that television?    No commercials.  No writer’s strike.  I think it is a separate category.  The point is to use that time thoughtfully, not mindlessly.  Last summer in Europe we watched no tv in England as our hotel didn’t have tvs in the rooms, just a tv lounge shared with other guests.  We weren’t that desperate.  In France we had a tv but CNN was the only English-speaking channel.  How many times can you watch the same news in one day?  We found out — it was three.  After that,  you pretty much had it memorized.  Bruce watched girls’ volleyball.  (Latvia beat Slovokia, by the way.)  He also enjoyed watching soccer which needs no translation.  We were tired after the day’s sightseeing so reading a book while stretched out on the bed was a rousing evening’s entertainment.

I admit I snuck into the bedroom today while Bruce was napping with every intention of watching the latest episode of “Days of Our Lives” which I have followed off and on for many, many years.  I have that VCR programmed to record the show daily.  However, I had forgotten to turn off the VCR after the the last time I watched it so it hadn’t recorded the past three days.  Saved from myself!

So, we’ve been listening to the music channels on the tv as we read.  It is quiet here.  If you, too, are tired of Law and Order, come on over.  But bring your book.

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Christmas and Clean-up

Today we took down the Christmas trees and put away the Father Christmas collection.  Technically we  have one more day until the Feast of the Epiphany so I left the nativity scene on the mantel, but I couldn’t wait for the trees.  I didn’t want to do it tomorrow after church and I’m going to be busy Monday and Tuesday.  The time consuming part is organizing as we put things away, so, hopefully, it will be easy to put up next year.  I tried putting all like items together.  Additionally, we got smart and purchased stackable tubs last year so they go up in the loft of the yard barn.  Poor Bruce has to muscle those boxes so we needed to consolidate as much as possiblle.  The artifical tree on the porch with just plain lights was easier to take down than it was to put up — and it took only 20 minutes to put up.  Boy, it looked nice out there as we drove up the driveway.  So festive and welcoming.  The real tree inside was still quite sappy and soft.  Bruce took it to Home Depot to be made into mulch.  We have in the past just put it in our own back woods, but actually there is plenty of pines and cover back there for the critters already.

Now it’s time to dust and polish.  I hate dusting. Hate it. Hate. It.  It’s soooo thankless.  It never lasts.  In Kansas I would dust on a Saturday morning and, by that afternoon, it needed it again.  Grrrr. Grammy Slusher said one of the best things about growing older and the eyesight fading was that you no longer had to look at the dust.  Obviously she felt the same way.

I decided to go ahead and segue right into Valentine’s Day.  Down with the Christmas wreath, up with the Valentine’s wreath.  However, that makes that season almost as long as Christmas and I’m not sure V.D. deserves that much attention.  However, since it’s our anniversary, I guess I can sneak it by.  And — he was a saint.  Does that count?

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We celebrated Christmas yesterday and the day before with the Slusher branch of our family. We ate a big dinner and talked and had Darlene’s delicious fudge. Jonathan and Emily got several cute toys. However, Missy Em played with a cloth mouse that actually is a cat toy. She turned it into the “vampire rat” and came up with all kind of stories and scenarios. A 30 cent toy. Guess what we can get her next year?

I think that proves what we already know. How many times have you seen children play hours with a cardboard box? My guys used to spend hours, days with a large cardboard box, down in the basement playroom. That provided lots of entertainment for snow bound days in Nebraska. The price was right too!

Although the “Santa” part of Christmas is over, in the Episcopal Church we celebrate Christmas until the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi come to acknowledge the Christ child, on January 6th, next Sunday. Which means we leave the decorations up. A difficult concept for my Baptist neighbors. I’ve explained this to them for 20 years. Epiphany is the end of the 12 days of Christmas. We culturally compress the different parts together. One of my favorite poems by TS Eliot is “Journey of the Magi”. (You can find it online.) I used it earlier this month when I was discussion leader for our book club and we discussed How Far to Bethlehem? by Norah Lofts. I’ve been continuing to think of that book all month. It’s just a sweet, thought provoking rendition of the nativity story. I need to go back to Lofts books. I have a bunch of them on the shelf. However, first I need to finish the book of Martin Luther King, Jr. that contains his famous speeches and articles. That’s our January selection for book club. I did sneak in A Christmas Carol, an charming three hour read.

Overall, Bruce and I had a simple Christmas. I’m glad. It was so enjoyable. Simple and serene. What it is supposed to be.

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Not so Silent Night

We took Emily to the children’s Christmas Eve service at St. Paul’s. We were sure to get there early so to have a good seat. As usual, she is well-behaved for a five year old. She couldn’t see — and that’s the point, isn’t it — so Bruce used a kneeling cushion like a booster seat to get her up higher so she could see the children’s choir sing. As usual, the youngest singers were — well, wiggly. They’re dressed up and keyed up. Mom and Dad and Grandpa and Grandma are all watching. What’s a kid to do but wiggle?

Emily was quiet, however, she soon discovered Nana had Lifesavers in her purse (to soothe her sniffles — cough, cough). We found a lemon one that was apparently just perfect. However, when that one was gone — cough, cough, — she needed another one. The lime one wasn’t quite as wonderful. Neither was the pineapple favor or the wintergreen (“too hot”) so that Nana soon had a pocket of sticky, wet Lifesavers in a wad of tissues. Amazingly, the cough disappeared as soon as Nana ran out of Lifesavers. They cured the cough, didn’t they?

Father Rick, a brave man, had a “show and tell” sermon for the children. He asked all the kids to come up. Guess who was first there? Front row center? Yep, little Miss-I’m-Not-Going-to-Miss-Anything. Father Rick brought out a huge box. When he opened it, out floated a red heart balloon, right up to the very high ceiling. Wow! However, the large communion wafer, that was supposed to be attached to the string, fell off. He had to retrieve it from the box. The point was that Christ, found in the bread of the Eucharist, is what lifts/fills our hearts. But, by that time the kids were tangled in the long string meant to pull down the balloon so the sexton didn’t have to shoot it down with a bb gun or so that the congregation didn’t have to look at it until the helium crashed. It took a bit of doing to extricate everyone. Finally, all the kids were returned to their families. A collective sigh escaped from all, especially Father Rick. Like I said, a very brave man.

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Christmas Shopping

We finished our shopping today, keeping it simple. We had a ball in Barnes and Noble. What neat stuff they have for kids! Grandparents should give books. Wish they had things like that when I was a kid. I remember getting some Nancy Drews and the full set of Anne of Green Gables. My mother loved the Anne series. I must admit I liked them too. Mother also got me the Wizard of Oz series, however the drawings creeped me out. They looked like something that Tim Burton created. Not warm and fuzzy enough for me at age nine or ten.

I started participating in the Angel Tree Project years ago at church. The children have parents in prison so we buy presents in their stead. Bruce chose the gifts for the boy and I took the girl. However, she wanted a tennis racket and he knows much more about tennis than I do. So I guess he picked out all the presents. I decided that cost should not be an object. Some children have so much; others have so little. It was heart-warming to buy something for children we don’t even know.

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Joyful Noise

Yesterday I wrote about the entertainment after the parade.  Bruce and I decided to attend the concert given tonight.  Macedonia Baptist Church and Warren Baptist Church combined voices for a concert to aid the Rescue Mission in downtown Augusta.  One church is predominately black, the other one white.  What a great opportunity to come together.  Burgers, Blankets and Bibles.  Lots of love in that auditorium tonight.  Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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