Saturday, October 27, 2007


Evan sent a tag around earlier and this really doesn’t have anything to do with that, but I’ve been wanting to blog for a while, and not wanting to start with a rant, I thought I would share my top ten collections.
Evan and I are both pack rats, so this undoubtedly does not cover all our collections. But perhaps it gives some insight into who I am and who we are since Evan lets me continue to collect these things.
These are in no particular order, but enjoy!
Skulls. At one time this complemented by 4-H projects of bugs and rocks. I no longer have those assemblies, but I have saved my skulls for posterity. The first skull I found myself underneath the pussy willow tree and the big picture window at my childhood home. I had probably been performing autopsies on local tadpoles with my trusty rusty play saw (ah, those were the days . . . ), when I moved on to archeology. I now have a full bird skeleton, a couple mice, a really cool beaver, squirrel, and a couple more dogs. I did have a deer at one time, but it’s not in there any more?

Tomie de Paola books. Evan could probably tell you when we first found out about his books; I don’t remember. I believe the first one we got was about Saint Benedict and Scholastica. Absolutely beautiful, but very innocent, pictures. From there, at Half-Price Books I found a compilation of Bible stories written and illustrated that he had signed. That was kind of cool, even if it’s not worth anything. I’ve also acquired some of the Strega Nona series, one about pancakes, and of course, Clown of God.

Magazines. I’m an addicted magazinoholic anyway, but I’m usually cutting them up or ripping them apart. The three that I SAVE are Martha Stewart, Victoria, Mary Engelbrite. I have had to whittle my stash down as we’ve moved around the country because they’re such a doggone pain to lug around, but these are several I can’t part with – mainly Christmas, fall, and certain spring ones that talk about either lavender, lilacs or eating things out of the woods.

Black Amethyst Depression glass. This collection began when E and I picked out our wedding china. Actually it began before that when Evelyn Ross bought us a china service for our wedding that was rimmed with black and silver. We picked out Wedgewood Fleur Damask, which happened to be discontinued 6 months after we got married to match that. In the process I found this depression glass that was fairly unique, but worked beautifully with the china. I’ve bought odd pieces here and there, in antique stores, ebay, etc., but I never really pay that much for it. The stuff I like has inlaid silver designs, and those aren’t too common.

Medicine bottles. Another archeological find but this time in the woods. Since my mom and dad’s property has been inhabited for more than 100 years, there are junk piles in strange places. There’s also a rumor that gold is hidden somewhere, but Dad has borrowed my cousin Steve’s metal detector and not found more than some pennies. However, at some point, I was messing around out there and dug up some old medicine bottles – electric bitters, sarsaparilla, etc. Every time I go home in the spring, when the weedy undergrowth is down, I go out and dig some more. Last year, I found two bottles from local Havana pharmacies. Right now they are waiting for display on my porch.

Passion music. After following the church year at St. Paul’s and developing a rule of life, I began looking for music to listen to during Lent. I did a paper at seminary comparing the passion narratives of Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion and Handel’s Messiah. I found a couple recordings of those, but have also gotten St. John’s (Bach) and St. Matthew’s (Golijov). Try listening to the Messiah during Lent sometime. As Evan and I are desperate to recommit our time to Christ’s calendar, I’m hoping to get Mozart’s classic Requiem for this coming Lent.

Vintage Christmas junk. I’m really not crazy about the commercialism that is Christmas, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to amassing piles of scratched up Shiny Brites and Twirling Santas. It’s always going to be better than Halloween. I actually shed a whole tub of Christmas crap before we moved from Guymon, but I couldn’t part with the vintagy-est stuff. I remember I found a whole bag of Santa’s at a thrift store in KC for less than $12. Then I bought a whole stack of ornaments in a now-closed antique store in Havana. Somewhere I also found a ziplock of plastic reindeer. I actually got back into it just recently when I discovered the thrift stores of Dayton. I had been living too far south, too close to Centerville and Oakwood to know. I’ve already procured a paper honeycomb Santa, 2-3 boxes of shiny brites, a big ceramic Christmas tree, and an old plastic light up snowman.

Newest collection – Salem Christmas Eve dishes. This leads me to my newest collection, still in the Christmas category. I happened across these at the St. Francis Thrift Store on Wilmington Pike. They’re the coolest shapes and they have these little retro images sprinkled all over them. The two larger bowls were $3, the smaller $2. I got on ebay to see what else I could find, and ended up purchasing 6 hot chocolate mugs in the same design. All I can say is: I paid more than $2 a piece for them (from Paypal, Evan.) That’s all I could find so far, but I’m looking forward to hunting more down.

Old Religious Ephemera. Evan and I have both taken this on. Evan moves more towards icons Eastern and Western. I tend to find old OLD Catholic stuff and other visually interesting items. We both like pictures or icons of Jesus when we can find them. We’ve found things at estate sales, thrift stores, monasteries. Evan has moved these images to his office (since he has one). I have a poster of old Sunday School story cards hanging over my computer desk. I found an old first Communion certificate in a Jacksonville, Illinois antique mall from 1895. It’s beautiful, with gold leaf and script. It seems Providential that I should have found it.

Unfinished travel scrapbooks. Finally, there are my bags and bags of partially completed travel scrapbooks. I have one from high school and my trip to Clinton’s inauguration that I’ve been hoping to redo since I returned. That was over 15 years ago! Also, the Orpheus Israel tour, Scotland to see Angie in 1994, St. John’s monastery, and most recently Italy. I’m sure there’s others. I just brought the album from our DC trip in May upstairs. It’s not done either, but I’m tired of it. These things are meant to be shared and looked through on solitary occasions. They almost have more character and interest with things hanging out and little notes stashed away than they would perfectly arranged and positioned.
So there they are. My top ten collections. I’m sure there are others considering how long it takes us to pack and move. I hope you’ve gotten to know me a little better.

Monday, October 08, 2007

First Paschal Sermon of St. Gregory of Nazianzen called "The Theologian"

Yesterday the Lamb was slain
And the door-posts were anointed,
And Egypt bewailed her Firstborn,
And the Destroyer passed over us,
And the Seal was dreadful and reverend,
And we were walled in with the Precious Blood.
Today, we have escaped from Egypt and from Pharoah; And there is none to hinder us
From keeping a Feast to the Lord our God —
The Feast of our Departure;
Or from celebrating that Feast,
Not in the old leaven of malice and wickedness,
But in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, Carrying with us nothing of ungodly and Egyptian leaven.
Yesterday, I was crucified with Him;
Today, I am glorified with Him;
Yesterday, I died with Him;
Today I am quickened with Him;
Yesterday, I was buried with Him;
Today, I rise with Him.
But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us — you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work, or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material things of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world, and of the Prince of the World.
Let us offer ourselves,
The possession most precious to God, and most fitting; Let us give back the image that is made after the Image, Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype;
Let us know the power of the Mystery,
And for what Christ died.
Let us become like Christ,
Since Christ has become like us.
Let us become God's for His sake,
Since He for ours became Man.
He assumed the worse
So that He might give us the better;
He became poor,
So that we through his poverty
Might become rich;
He took upon Him the form of a servant
That we might receive back our liberty;
He came down,
That we might be exalted;
He was tempted,
That we might conquer;
He was dishonoured,
That He might glorify us;
He died,
That He might save us;
He ascended,
That He might draw Himself to us,
Who were lying low in the Fall of sin.
Let us give all, offer all,
To Him who gave Himself
As Ransom and a Reconciliation for us.
But one can give nothing like oneself,
Understanding the Mystery,
And becoming for His sake,
All that He became for ours.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monks in Burma

Cords of wood piled by the thousands
Bleed the blood of monks
Discarded as though they were the
Carcasses of animals.
The loss of life, points of consciousness,
means the loss of neighbors
to love and honor as we are commanded.
Cords of bleeding wood piled high by the thousands
burn in the fire of tyranny.

Join us as we pray for peace in Burma.