Well, that was a rude awakening. Sigh. I had a whole lovely post written, and it simply disappeared because of some fancy key-work I did. I wish this Typepad dashboard had one of those little "undo" arrows like MS Word does. I could have saved myself a half-hour or so.
Well, rather than rewrite everything about St. Andrew, I'll just send you to the Wikipedia link . Enough to say that today's his day, and he's the patron saint of Scotland, brother of St. Peter, and first Bishop of Byzantium.
Here on the Cumberland Plateau, it's a gloomy, rainy day, and I've had the lights on all day. I've been cozied up at home, having no appointments to pull me outside. One of the great things about being a parish priest is the flexibility of my schedule. I can read and prepare for bible study, for two book groups (one a Sunday group, another a non-parish group), start my sermon, and at the same time be warm and dry, and put on a big pot of turkey-vegetable-rice soup. Yum, yum.
Days like today, I realize that the 3 years of study for a THIRD master's degree, the intimidating student debt, the grief that I experience from time to time are all worth it.
As I cooked my soup, I could gaze out my kitchen door at this:
I wish I had taken this picture a week ago, when more leaves were on it; but I don't believe the colors were as brilliant then. Every time I see it, I'm grateful for the warmth of it.
As I was browsing my pictures, I also saw these, and they added another spot of sunshine to my day. They were taken last month, right after I planted them:
And now look at the contrast here, between October, when the mums were definitely dominant in this window box with mums and pansies:
And this, taken today, albeit with pansies a little sodden:
The mums got frostbitten, and the pansies are flourishing!
I also found this closeup of my Advent table wreath, which shows off the purple privet berries nicely:
So if you're having a gloomy weather day, my prayer for you is that you find a spot of blazing color to brighten things up, or that you let my own spots of sunshine do the trick for you.
I've been thinking a lot about gratitude, which you can probably tell, if you read my sermons in the Sunday posting. It seems that when I make a practice of literally "counting my blessings" (at least 5 a day), then the world just goes better in every way. I don't know why that is, except I'm more aware of the abundant grace in my life; I also believe that positive energy attracts more positive energy, and that's what gratutude generates. I'm making a practice of writing down 5 blessings or gratitudes every day. Try it!