Conversing with Aloysius

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The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriousity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.
Stephen Fry

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I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival.
C.S. Lewis, quoted here.

Filed under Friendship C.S. Lewis The Four Loves

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Kiah Victoria’s jazzy soul cover of “All of Me”

I love John Legend’s rendition, but this one is excellent, too.

Filed under All of Me

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We ought to find and love God in what we are actually given; if it pleases God to allow us to enjoy some overwhelming earthly happiness, we must not try to be more pious than God and allow our happiness to be corrupted by presumption and arrogance, and by unbridled religious fantasy which is never satisfied with what God gives. God will see to it that those who find the Divine in earthly happiness and thank God for it do not lack reminder that earthly things are transient, that it is good for them to attune their hearts to what is eternal, and that sooner or later there will be times when they can say in all sincerity, ‘I wish I were home.’ But everything has its time, and the main thing is that we keep step with God, and do not keep pressing a few steps ahead—nor keep dawdling a step behind.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Filed under dietrich bonhoeffer God Christianity

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Reflections on August 2013 - August 2014

I can’t believe this is my fourth year of tumblr-ing, and my fourth year of annual (online) reflection.  For most things, I journal.  But this helps me think through the more frivolous delights of the year!

"New" Discoveries … 

Rectify - best new show since Breaking Bad.  I discovered the show a month or so ago, and love it.  If Flannery O’Connor were writing modern screenplays, she’d write this show.  It’s beautifully done, and subtle.  Highly recommended.

Guilty pleasure - Scandal.  An entirely different category of television.  It’s ridiculous, and I enjoy every bit of the roller coaster.  Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, and the rest of the ensemble are delightful.

As Breaking Bad concluded, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it remained a well-written show to the end.  Well done, Vince Gilligan and company.  If you haven’t watched it, why not?!  Not really new since I’ve been a faithful fan for years, but it is one of a handful of shows that lived up to its first season throughout its run.

Despite these three television shows to start my reflection, I’ve been reading more than even before.  It’s more fun.  And it keeps my priorities in check.  

Teaching is fun.  I taught my first graduate-level writing course this spring, and having a blast training young minds to write better.  Maybe.  I try.  Plus, I became a better writer (if I can say so) by training to teach them!

Ira Glass.  I’ve followed This American Life for years, but this year I had the opportunity to hear his live “show” about radio storytelling.  One of the best evening’s I’ve ever paid for.  Ever.  And I love Broadway.  The man is a genius storyteller, and knows his medium.  I respect him considerably.

Speaking of Broadway … Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry (and rest of cast) in Twelfth Night made my theatre-going year.  Humbled to have witnessed such wonderful acting.

Loss.  Of speech.  Of relationships.  Of family.  Of dreams.  I am glad God exists because I cannot imagine enduring without faith in a higher purpose and plan.  He has taught me to look for the positive linings in the darkest of days.  Sometime’s it’s a mere shadow, but it does exist.

Favorite books read….

  • The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller - recommended by a friend who is a teacher; this teacher is inspiring her students to become readers by nurturing adult-child reading experiences centered around the child’s interests.  I wish more teachers would adopt this approach!
  • Levels of Life by Julian Barnes - Speaking of a master of words.  Barnes weaves fiction and non-fiction into a gripping tale of loss.  He’s a gifted writer.
  • Contempt of Court by Mark Curridan - one for the legal nerds.  The true story behind the only contempt proceedings brought by the US Supreme Court.  After the Court granted habeas review, the defendant was lynched.  Compelling.
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - I didn’t want this one to end.  I won’t give away the story, but it deals with a precocious girls’ grief over her uncle’s death due to AIDS.  I’ve never read anything like it.
  • The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker - Tips from an expert in risk assessment.  It will change how you think about life and the news.  Truly one everyone should read.  
  • The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser - A leading witness against Warren Jeffs tells her story about the fundamentalist LDS cult.  A survivor’s tale, and one that gives hope as she seeks to help others.

Who knows what is ahead in the year ahead.  More laughs.  More tears.  More good reads.  Time spent with friends, and acquaintances who may become friends.  Life is good. 

Filed under Deep thoughts Birthday Reflections