I am counting the days until I see this little guy again (four!). For Thanksgiving, my Colorado son and his family along with my Oregon son and his wife are meeting us in Arizona. There we will meet my sister, her children and grandchildren, plus assorted in-laws and friends for a grand total of 31 people around our Thanksgiving Day table.
We are looking forward to some good times with family, delicious food, and warm, sunny weather.
The photo above is my youngest grandson dressed up for Halloween, sent to me by my daughter-in-law. After I received it, I told her that it was an adorable picture, but I could not figure out what my grandson was dressed as. “A fox pirate,” she replied.
Oh, yes. You have to watch out for those fox pirates. Very scary!
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I think of these verses often when I think of the relationship my hubby Bill and I share. We have supported each other and “lifted up the other” in many ways over the years, but one of the most tangible ways we help each other is in our running.
For most of the two years I struggled with a hamstring injury, Bill’s training was excellent. We trained for and ran the Berlin Marathon during that time and he ran strong and fast.
In many races, he slowed his pace so he could run with me. Once, during a trail race when I turned my ankle on a rock, he literally lifted me up and supported me.
He is in a mini-slump with his running right now. All runners go through tough periods like this. I hope I can give him the same quality of encouragement that he gave to me. It feels comforting to have a partner who is there to lift us up when we fall.
This month I have started studying Portuguese in preparation for our trip to Portugal and Morocco this spring. I like to be able to speak a little bit of the language in the countries I visit, at least enough to read a menu and say “Please, Thank you, and Where’s the bathroom?”
So far, learning Portuguese has proven to be more difficult than Spanish or Italian for me. Some pronunciations seem unusual, there are many nasal sounds, and apparently, the person who invented this language was very fond of the letter “X“.
In the app I use to study languages, one of the exercises involves writing the words in Portuguese that the instructor speaks. I am a terrible speller in English. My Portuguese words are nothing short of laughable, and don’t even get me started on plurals, but I think I am learning the basics.
“Por favor.” “Obrigado.” “Onde fica o banheiro?”
Even though I read a lot of books this month, the selection for discussion in this post was easy to make. “Unlearning God” by Philip Gulley, a Quaker pastor, was the most thought-provoking book I have read in a long time.
Gulley is a natural storyteller. The book is sprinkled with anecdotes from his own experience which, when coupled with his self-deprecating humor, make the book easy to read.
My copy is now dog-eared, highlighted, and marked with notes scribbled in the margins that no one could ever hope to interpret but me. I believe I could let the book fall open to any random page and find at least one pithy quote.
Here is one: “When I was a Catholic, participating each week in confession, I remember telling Father McLaughlin I had eaten meat on Friday. The Vietnam War was raging, children were being burnt to death with napalm, America’s cities were aflame, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, and I had to ask God’s forgiveness for eating a hamburger. How had eating fish on Friday become the measure of holiness?
People obsessed with religious legalese talk about how rare and difficult true holiness is, when it is easy compared to the depth of transformed living Jesus called for. It’s much simpler to wear the right clothes, eat the right food, and wear the right hairstyle than it is to love mercy and do justice. No wonder so many people have reduced religion to these simple, attainable standards. It is this settling for so little that poses such a threat to spirituality. It creates a faith so puddle-shallow, it dries up quickly.”
I must write the disclaimer that Gulley and I do not share all of the same religious beliefs, but this book made me think, and for that, I love it.
I am linking up with Heather Gerwing for her “Four Somethings”. Thanks, Heather, for giving the opportunity to think and write about four such compelling topics.
Also linking with Amy at Live Life Well, Life at 139A for Post, Comment, Love, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Loopy Laura for Global Blogging, Denyse Whelan Blogs for Life This Week, Esme Salon for Senior Salon, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, My Random Musings for Anything Goes, and Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire.