30 November 2017

Thanksgiving Leftovers ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

So, November closes and the last of the pie and cranberry will be part of my luncheon.  First of course will be a turkey sandwich.  There is still almost a gallon of turkey soup frozen in quarts for winter remembrance.  Before I turn my full attention Advent and the closing of the year I will consider further gratitude.

The other aspect of this is the realization that no human is a leftover.  Rather each is a new creation, fresh and alive with potential.  I am just learning to tap into some of mine thanks to the good counsel of some dear friends. 

Those things that remain when something has past can be viewed as rubbish or leftovers.  My lunch today will furnish a final repast from the food I prepared for Thanksgiving.  All the large pots are put away.  The roasting pan is clean.  That which remains will still sustain me and give me joy.

As long as I am viable I have the opportunity to do this for others.  No matter my circumstance I can do some good.  Yesterday I made a toddler smile and helped a dear friend.  The remains of every year provide a time to seek the good we can give and accomplish.  I will continue to give thanks and search for the opportunity to do right by others. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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29 November 2017

Thanksgiving Leftovers ~ Cranberry, Pie, and Dirt

Greetings Dear Reader,

First, let me say that pie is my favorite desert.  I would rather have pie than most things.  Even savory pies like meat pies are a favorite.  I will explain dirt in a moment. 

First, I would like to think about the cranberry.  It is like a pre-desert you can eat during the meal.  I suppose the same could be said for most versions of sweet potatoes, yam, and butternut squash.  Even for the young being forced to eat their vegetables these are an oasis of sweetness in the desert before desert.

I make pumpkin pie.  Others prefer pecan, mincemeat, or sweet potato pie.  I like them all.  I was once the guest of a family who had seven kinds of pie.  I barely ate my vegetables.  I have met a few people who do not like pie.  I still pray for them.

Then there is dirt.  This is something that my Sons introduced me to when they were young.  It has become a family tradition.  It is a concoction of pudding, butter, cream cheese, and chocolate cookies. Properly mixed it is placed in a flower pot with a fake flower.  The crumbled cookies are sprinkled on top to look like dirt.  Others put gummy worms in it but I find that to be an abomination.   

Leftover pie, dirt, and cranberry are things I enjoy so much.  They must be eaten in proper measure.  They must be eaten before they get too soggy, dry, or separated.  One must see the sweetness in the leftovers.  That which remains still has value.

I must see that in all that there is there will be remainders.  There will be leftover desert.  There is sweetness in life that endures.  There is always something sweet at the end.  I just need to seek it.

Dirt

8 oz.                             Cream Cheese Softened to room temperature
4 oz.                             Butter softened to room temperature
3 cups                          Milk (2 1/2 if using Kailua)
1/2 cup                        Kailua or Amaretto (optional)
2               Packages Inst. Choc. Pudding
1               Package Oreos
1 quart                         Whipped Topping

Blend Cream Cheese and Butter until smooth. In a separate bowl mix pudding mix, milk, and Kailua. Combine these two mixtures and beat until smooth.
Let this set for fifteen minutes.
 
While mixture is setting, crush Oreos till they are fine.
 
Fold the whip cream into mixture. Layer Oreos and Mixture into flower pot and garnish with fake flowers. Chill for at least eight hours. Use as an "Ugly" center piece and serve as dessert

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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28 November 2017

Thanksgiving Leftovers ~ Dressing and Gravy

Greetings Dear Reader,

When it comes to gravy at Thanksgiving I always make my own.  Turkey fat and flour are cooked until they yield that nutty smell that signifies a proper roux.  Clarified pan drippings are added and the pot simmers until thick.

I make both in the bird and in the pan dressing.  The former I call the stuffing and the latter dressing.  The reason should be obvious.  One reads many warnings about the dangers of leftover stuffing so I keep the two separate. 

What I do look forward to is the leftover dressing and gravy.  Thanks to the microwave oven one can reheat the gravy without it separating or becoming too thick.  A bowl of dressing and gravy with some bits of turkey is one of my favorite easy hot meals after Thanksgiving.

It is true that one must have care for the storage and heating of things like dressing and gravy.  It is not that they are immediately fouled once they cool.  It is that they must be stored so as to be safe. 

The translation to practicality in life is obvious.  With care, many things once thought to be dangerous are useful to us now.  The obligation is to assure that deals with them well.  The short of it is that I must be careful to a measure in all things.  I must do all things in faith and in following.  

Leftovers that can be dangerous in life are still able to be faced or handled.  They must be addressed with proper preparation and care.  In this time of year as I deal with memories and moments that are potentially poisonous it is in faith that I will handle them with care.  It is in following Christ that I must use them properly.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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27 November 2017

Thanksgiving Leftovers ~ Turkey Sandwiches

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving leftovers are turkey sandwiches.  It is simple enough.   Cold turkey, Sunbeam Bread, and Miracle Whip combine to give a perky lunch or diner that I look forward to every year.  It must be these things or it is not right. You do not have to agree with me but this is my truth.

For some years I could not get Sunbeam Bread and it was just not the same.  I have tried other salad dressings and even mayonnaise.  It is very disappointing.  The combination of these three ingredients tastes like pleasant memories of Thanksgiving long gone by.  

There is also the idea of the limited window of opportunity.   One can only keep the Thanksgiving leftover turkey for so long.  I have tried freezing it properly but the enjoyment is not the same.  There is something in us that relishes in things that are fleeting.  We must enjoy them in the moment.  We must grasp an opportunity and find the joy in it.

This is such a great way to extend our gratitude.  We get moments in which we can grasp the joy that is there to be had.  We get the opportunity to enjoy things.  We must do so when it is there.  We must be grateful for the chance and the moment.  We must take it all in and invest ourselves in it.

The moments of time that flee from me can be used or neglected.  Seeing all of life in a leftover turkey sandwich helps me remain in a spirit of gratitude for that which remains.  It helps me be thankful for what is to come.  If I can focus on that I will do much better at being good to others.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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26 November 2017

Thanksgiving Leftovers – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The last days of November, after Thanksgiving seem kind of a doldrums.  It is not yet December and the passing of Black Friday leaves many exhausted.  The world seems to resist the onset of Christmas preparations. 

Then there are the Thanksgiving leftovers.  They fill the fridge with odd containers of things that were hot and fresh on the Thanksgiving table but are now cold and expiring.  Some, like the apple dressing taste better the second day.  Some are never quite right when reheated.

These last days of November are such great opportunity to turn the corner well.  They are the chance to prepare the heart and mind for resisting the onset of avarice.  The chance to fill the heart with joy is abundant. 

As we move through these last days of November my intent is to focus on my own thoughts, feelings, and actions.  I wish to be sure that I am who I should be in these days no matter how difficult or easy they are.  I know you are busy Dear Reader but I truly value your company as we travel. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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25 November 2017

Black Friday Observations

Greetings Dear Reader,

I spent the day yesterday out and about but not shopping.  I did buy some carrots for the turkey soup I am making for Sunday.  The highlights of the day were plenty.  So were the moments when I felt deep sorrow for my fellow humans.

Since it was Friday I began with my usual time of breakfast at my favorite diner.  It was great to share the morning and the Thanksgiving stories of the regulars there.  Next I got to share some time with my Daughter, Christmas giving her a lift to work.

From there I went to my customary Black Friday Bell Ringing place.  Here the day begins to be less than usual.  First, the bell ringing station had no bell.  That is one hundred percent of the task.  One goes bell ringing to ring a bell in hopes that others will share some of their funds for the needs of others.  This is the Salvation Army and they usually get it right.  But there was not bell, so I sang.  I have been told that I can do this and one pretty young lady did put a very large bill into the kettle and said I have a beautiful voice.  Perhaps the missing bell was a boon.

As I was singing a slow haunting rendition of God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen, a “lady” walked in and started yelling at me because all the Wal-Marts were out of the cheap big-screen televisions.  She seemed to have a condition where every second word was “F###ing”.  When I told her that I did not work at Wal-MartI was told to “’F’ get ‘F’ away.”   She moved on to the greeter for whom I feel great sorrow.

Then to my joy my friends Adam and Matt showed up to say hello.  They were looking for bits and bobs to fix the casing at their parents’ home.  The joy with which this filled me is inexpressible.  This led to further joy later in the day but we are not there yet.

I visited the grocer to obtain the carrots for my soup and encountered one of the young ladies who works at the store crying in the soda isle.  We talk almost every time I am at the store so I ask what the matter might be.  She explained that a customer had been very rude and crude toward her because the sale on Pepsi products had ended.  Seeking to comfort with humor I inquired if she had been promoted to “Regional Pepsi Pricer.”  

She chuckled through tears.  Hugged me then began to apologize.  I explained that I felt honored that she would be real with me.  The she chuckled again and I explained that in my family we call the time when we are both crying and laughing “crafing”.   I explained that it is a marker to the path out of sorrow.  She smiled fully as the last tear drifted down her cheek.  I went on to find my carrots thankful that she was feeling better and wondering if the TV “lady”.

I drifted through some other shops not buying but passing our smiles for free.  Then my friend Adam arranged for he, his wife Cole and their children to dine with us.  We met early and had a wonderful meal.  My Daughter Christmas and I had a great time catching up with them and getting to know their very well-behaved children well.  Encounters with this man and his family are always a blessing for me. 

I am always astounded at how refreshing it is to go out on Black Friday with no agenda but to be kind to others.  It sets my heart in motion to journey toward Christmas with the proper attitude.  When the shopping list is carrots and kindness it is quite easy to have a successful Black Friday.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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24 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Seeing how much we have is often a matter of perspective.  To some it may seem that I have little.  To others I would appear quite wealthy.  It is their frame of reference that determines their perspective.  I think that I am rich in things that matter.

Even my perspective is not the one, however, that matters.  Since I am supposed to count on the Father for my needs, it is his perspective that matters.  He promises that I will not lack what I need.  He promises to care for me.

Today so many are worried about getting what they “need” to buy.  They will do things that hinder their lives to save money on things which they cannot afford.  I want the great gain that is godliness with contentment.  I want to find all my delight in showing other the love of Christ. 

What is great about that is that it flows from Plenty’s Horn freely without fear of it diminishing.   I have so much for which I am thankful.  Getting to show love to others is so very precious to me. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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23 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Constant Stream

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Reader,

I will be brief today out of respect for your time.  It is possible, if we choose it, to have gratitude as a constant stream.  It is reasonable to have constant consciousness of the many blessings we have even in our worst times. 

Plenty’s Horn gives us a constant flow of life to embrace and cherish.   We too often focus on the gall instead of the honey.  We see the problems and let them block out the victories and blessings. 

I wish you blessings and love Dear Reader.  I am so very thankful for you on my Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you find joy in the day.  Your companionship on this long road home is a constant treasure for me.

Here is a link to a Cornucopia coloring page for those who like to color in.  

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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22 November 2017

Second Thoughts – Black Friday, Baubles, and Bells

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

I am sitting down to write this to wind down from pepping Thanksgiving dinner.   I slow roast my turkey overnight.  It is just in the over to gently rise in temperature until morning.  The pies are cooling.  The pudding is chilling.   The dressing is in the pan well chilled and ready for the over tomorrow.  There is more but I will not belabor you now Dear Reader.

This time on Thanksgiving Eve my thoughts turn to what comes next.  My Daughter loves the entire Black Friday shopping thing.   I resist it.   We agree that shopping on Thanksgiving Day wrong.  She spends that time plotting her Friday adventure and nibbling a last slice of pumpkin pie.

I have grown weary of the avarice associated with the time between the last bite of the Thursday meal and the end of cyber Monday.  I will venture out on Saturday or Sunday more to observe than to shop. One of those two days we will decorate for Christmas.  This means that I may pick up a bauble or two for the tree.  If needed I will get some new lights. 

One thing I will do is spend some time bell ringing for the Salvation Army.  This is vital to the needs of so many in a time when want is more keenly felt.  It is easy, only takes a couple of hours per shift, and has the potential to benefit so many.  You can volunteer at ringbells.org .  In ten years they have never pestered me for money or put me on someone’s mailing list.  Ninety-two cents of every dollar goes to the actual charity work they do for others. 

So, as I prepare to feast with family and friends I cast my heart and mind toward the needs of others.  I do this in keeping with the idea that I have so many things to for which to be thankful that I dare not neglect the needs of others.  Join with me Dear Reader; come on ring those bells.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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Plenty’s Horn ~ No Leftovers

Greetings Dear Reader,

My eldest Son, Maxim introduced me to the Avett Brothers.  I am very thankful for this.  One of the challenges of the gathering of families can be leftovers.  I do not mean the Oyster and Peanut Butter Stuffing or Aunt Matilda’s Prune and Olive pie.  I mean the leftover feelings from a lifetime of knowing each other.

Plenty’s Horn pours out unending forgiveness for us from the Father.  We harbor hard, dried out, leftover feelings for each other and try to serve them up when we gather.  We do not consider that we are poisoning everyone to whom we serve them. 

We can have soft feelings.  We can forgive and create a safe space for the time together.  It may take courage.  It may take effort.  It is always worth it to show love and forgiveness to our family.  It is never a wasted meal to dine on humility.

As I turn my heart toward thankfulness and giving I must serve up generous portions of kindness and patience.  It is an opportunity to give forgiveness even if I am the only one who knows it.  The food is secondary to the love and care.  Plenty of leftovers will be there.  I must not serve them.   

No Hard Feelings – The Avett Brothers

When my body won't hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Will I be ready?
When my feet won't walk another mile?
And my lips give their last kiss goodbye?
Will my hands be steady when I lay down my fears, my hopes, and my doubts?
The rings on my fingers, and the keys to my house
With no hard feelings?

When the sun hangs low in the west
And the light in my chest won't be kept held at bay any longer
When the jealousy fades away
And it's ash and dust for cash and lust
And it's just hallelujah
And love in thoughts and love in the words
Love in the songs they sing in the church
And no hard feelings
Lord knows they haven't done much good for anyone
Kept me afraid and cold
With so much to have and hold
Mmm, hmm

When my body won't hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Where will I go?
Will the trade winds take me south through Georgia grain?
Or tropical rain?
Or snow from the heavens?
Will I join with the ocean blue?
Or run into a savior true?
And shake hands laughing
And walk through the night, straight to the light
Holding the love I've known in my life
And no hard feelings

Lord knows they haven't done much good for anyone
Kept me afraid and cold
With so much to have and hold

Under the curving sky
I'm finally learning why
It matters for me and you
To say it and mean it too
For life and it's loveliness
And all of its ugliness
Good as it's been to me
I have no enemies
I have no enemies
I have no enemies
I have no enemies

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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21 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Onions and Celery

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday, in preparation for making Thanksgiving dinner I purchased onions and celery.  A dozen onions were selected from a box that held enough to fill a pallet.  There was no need to judge the celery.  Each rib of the stalk was clean and neatly trimmed.  There were two full pallets of celery there.  I moved on to other items less common but necessary.

I think that the things we use every day get ignored in the times we express our gratitude.   It is only when they become scarce that we value them.  Celery is only ninety-nine cents a stalk (some call the individual ribs of celery stalks.  The stalk is the entire bunch of ribs attached at the root).  It is important to my stuffing. 

A few years ago, my customary grocer was out of celery four days before Thanksgiving.  It has not happened before or since.  Apparently, there was a city-wide shortage of celery.  I do not think anyone ponders not being able to find celery.  I already feel that I have used the word celery far too much.  Still it is a glaring example of something we take for granted unless we cannot find it when we need it.

As I train my heart to be more grateful I must always consider the little things that one takes for granted.  I must see the provision of God in every small thing.  Every cup of cold water that comes from my faucet is something for which to be thankful.  Every breath is a gift.  If I practice gratitude in all the little things I will not have time to be ungrateful.  That is truly something for which to be thankul.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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20 November 2017

Second Thoughts – The Empty Stool

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

I mentioned last week that my bird died.  There is a aftereffect that has visited me of which I was unaware until today.  I have written before about things that surround my writing space and those things significance to my world.  Sitting where the bird’s cage used to be is the stool upon which it rested. 

The stool is hand painted.  It is black with ferrets on it.  The ferrets were also pets that once enriched my life.  They too have passed on.  Further, the stool was a gift from someone who no longer speaks to me.  She is Avalon’s sister and painted the stool as a gift for us when we were still together.

A simple wooden barstool is a reminder of so much loss.  Yet I would not part with it.  I still treasure the girt that was given, the pets it represents, and the family that is lost to me.  It is strange how these things descend upon our minds with a cruelty that cannot be imagined.  It is also strange how quickly I can remember moments of joy associated with each of these things.

I hold no less love for the people involved in this remembering.  I do not feel the need for pity or comfort concerning it.  What I do feel is the deep sense that simple things can confound us and force us to chain together events so that we deal with loss instead of burying it.  Yet in this season of gratitude I would rather recall how thankful I am for the art, the pets, and the love that still perches upon this stool.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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Plenty’s Horn ~ The Intangibles

Greetings Dear Reader,

I saw Justice League over the weekend.  I promise no spoilers here.  It did cause me to think about super heroes in general.  Then my mind drifted to The Incredibles.   This is how my brain works sometimes; leaping from item to item like a frog on overheated Lily pads.  It then wondered if one could sustain stories about a group of super heroes called The Intangibles.

This looped back to a line in the movie.  One of the heroes says, “I'm a big fan of justice!”  What if The Intangibles are here?   What if the heroes are things we cannot touch or see?  They are things that make us more than a biological collection of energy.  They are things we have in abundance if we use them.  They are also the things that make God, well God.

I am talking about the intangibles of Love, Grace, Goodness, Righteousness, Justice, and Truth.  They are all here.  We just are not thankful enough to respect them and embrace them as we should.  We are not aware of or we deny the power and place they have in our world. We deny their power and then deny it to God.

What we really have in the “heroes” is an abundance of resources that are sustainable and cannot be depleted.  The more we give them out the more we have.  The more we share them the more they multiply.  Plenty’s horn will spill The Intangibles over the world as long as we are willing to pour her out without reservation. 

I must realize that I can be the conduit of The Intangibles.  Their leader; the greatest of these heroes assures that the rest work in harmony.  On her rests the power and trust of them all.  The greatest of these is love.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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19 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Friends

Greetings Dear Reader,

I sometimes wonder if we have forgotten the what it means to have and be a friend.  I must say that I have an abundance of them.  “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”  I promise that this works out to a compliment. 

As I address gratitude based on the ample flow of Plenty’s Horn into my life, I must count among my blessings the friends I have.  I am not going to mention any names here because I do not wish to leave anyone out and thus hurt and feelings.  I also do not wish to write a five-thousand-word post.

I did a brief accounting.  I have friends in seventeen countries.  They are on every continent including Antarctica.  I only counted the ones where I have met people face to face.  There are also a few whom I have only met through writing discussion or social media whom I consider real friends. 

I know someone in every state in this country.  Thousands of students have passed through my classrooms over the years.  In the town where I live my Daughter claims that I know every third person.  More often than not when I am out and about I chance upon someone I know.

The short of it is that I have many friends for whom I am very thankful.  I wish to express great gratitude for those who have gone above and beyond to help me in my recent troubling time.  Some day I hope to show my thankfulness in a way that touches your collective hearts.

Friends and a deep blessing to me.  I cherish them and never discount them.  You, Dear Reader, are precious to me as well.  I am so grateful for your presence.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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18 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Family

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I think of family my first thoughts are my Children and Grandchildren.  I am so very thankful for them.  Even their imperfections enrich my life.  Watching them learn and grow is a constant source of learning for me.

I have siblings that I love dearly even though I do not see them as often as I would.  Each of them speaks to my spirit in a unique way.  I would love to have them all in one place for a long meal full of real conversation.  I have mentioned before that I do not have a family tree but, rather, a family kudzu.   I that vast tangled sea of creeping, clinging vines my siblings are the lovely purple flowers. 

I am so very thankful for parents and the sacrifices they made to assure me an education that was above average.  It has supported me through times of abundance and lean.  Woven into the tapestry of my life are lessons that guide me when the choices are tough.  I am thankful for those.

Long etched into my spirit are the lessons from my Grandfather.  In the short time we shared he constantly invested in me.  I have a few treasures that he left me and his is the face I think of when I desire human counsel and guidance.  His view of the Father is the one that most influences mine. 

For the most part we do not get to choose our family.  I am blessed to have one that is crazy and that I love.  Plenty’s horn sees to it that through them adventure and opportunity are constantly there for me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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17 November 2017

Plenty’s Horn ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is time to focus on gratitude.  We all have so much more to be thankful for than we consider sometimes.  I know that even though I have been without income for five months I have lacked for nothing.  I still have so much more than I need.,

As the world is filled with scandals, rumors, and real crisis we are about to pause for some feasting.  I will cook for my family.  We will have some down time.  We will celebrate that for which we have gratitude.

Leading up to that I wish to prepare my heart by considering the things for which I am truly thankful.  I want to assure that as I prep the turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings that I also consider the many things for which I want to express my gratitude.

If I ponder these things then my hope is to enter this season with a heart filled with so much gratitude that I do not feel anything but the need to give.   I want to further shed more of the trappings of things and focus on the humans around me.  If I can only focus on people and their needs then I will be able to see more clearly how much I have to be thankful for. 

Walk with me Dear Reader as we ponder all the good things we have.  Your companionship is at the top of that list. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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16 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I need to turn my thoughts toward the gratitude aspect of the season.  Frist, I would like to wrap up my thoughts on the gifts to choose.  It seems that after some deep self-examination I have a good attitude about this.  This means I need to find new ways to live this out since some of my common customs are not available to me this year.

In choosing what to give others it is vital that I consider what will endure.  I have more time so I can be more available.  I can give more time to the charities I support.  I can help with the odd schedules of the season with my Grandsons.  I will have to make an effort to be out and about more.

The primary need is to choose to give love and hope to others.  If I am to truly celebrate the love and gift that is Christ I must give him in every moment.  This is done through love, patience, selflessness, kindness, and compassion.  It is accomplished through seeing the needs of others.  It is fulfilled in having a spirit of gratitude for what I already have and avoiding the “I want more” culture of the world.

The entire material world is going to beg me to buy and get and want.   I will buy good spirits by sending out my spirit to everyone with good thoughts and kind words.  I will get new opportunities to show love and kindness to others.  I will hone my want to see all humans filled with the true spirit of the season and increase my attempts to be a constant source of it for others.  In this will I consider every moment the good things I can give.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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15 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ Some Gifts that Matter

Greetings Dear Reader,

I often ponder the things that I can give that will mean the most.  I make a very organized and detailed list for everyone for whom I will be purchasing presents.  I keep this in a document so that I can review what I have given over previous years.

At the top of the entry for each person I put the most important gifts.  The first thing I list is ways in which I want to show the person that I am thankful for his or her place in my life.  It is one of the ways I prepare my heart for the Thanksgiving season. 

It may be that I have a conversation with someone reminding him or her of how they have positively impacted me.  I may make a small gift or buy a meal.  The core is to find a way to specifically show my gratitude for the life of the individual and how it intersects mine in a good way.

Also on this page I keep a list of things I wish to do to show charity, love, and compassion to others throughout the season.  There are volunteer opportunities.  Some I do without including anyone who knows me.  An anonymous time of volunteer work is very rewarding.   Some like Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army is an annual event in which I involve my family. 

The focus must be on choosing gifts that matter.  If I give gratitude, love, charity to others then I can choose tangible gifts with the right heart.  This mindset also makes me more present when I am out and about interacting with others.  When I am at restaurants and shops the right mind helps me remain patient, respectful, and polite with clerks and servers. 

Many gifts are needed to fill out my list.  The most important ones only cost me effort and a little time.  The rewards of being in the right mind and heart make the season unfold in a way that keeps Christ at the center of it.  That is the most important gift that I can give myself.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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14 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ What about the Box?

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all have heard the adage that little children may be more interested in the box than the gift.  I know people who are masterful at wrapping gifts.  I admire this skill but sorely lack it.  I sometimes wonder if the wrapping takes more effort or cost than the gift.

I have a solution for this that is both elegant and economical.  For my children and grandchildren, I have a set of very festive nesting boxes.  Their gifts or clues to their gifts if they are too big go into the boxes.  I do not ever have to worry about my poor wrapping skills or figuring out how to present the present.

This also frees me to put more thought into the gifts and saves a great deal of time in the wrapping of the gifts once chosen.  If I am going to choose what to give well I must focus my energy on the substance rather than the style.  I can make things look nice so that those who receive the gifts feel valued but the true value must be in what is in the box.

Too often we put all our effort into appearance instead of into the substance of what we give.  We can be polite without being loving.  We can be tolerant without caring.  We give empty time where we do not truly engage.  It does not matter how pretty the package is if it is hollow or without love. 

If I do not engage my heart in choosing what to give others at every level, then my pretty packages are simply empty promises.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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13 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ Focus

Greetings Dear Reader,

Over the weekend I was privileged to spend some long good time with my Grandsons.  I had a sales catalog from one of the chain stores that is dedicated wholly to toys.  In the wee hours of the morning they sat on either side of me as I paged through the offerings.

Their response took me back to the arrival of the Sears Wish Book.  They pointed out what they liked.  They talked about how they would play together with the toys they wanted.  One could imagine that they already possessed them. 

I recall as lad getting the Wish Book.  Our postman gave me my own when he delivered the one for the family.  I would sequester it and myself in my room.  Turning to the toy section I would flip hastily past the little kid toys.  I would circle in pen the items I wanted the fold the page over at the corner. 

The focus of children is what they want.  It is their nature.  We must teach them to be giving and to focus on others.  What I felt watching my Grandsons live out the Christmas wish moments of every child was the desire to give them everything.  It flowed from me like a might river delight them as my Grandfather delighted me as a boy.

When thinking what to give it is the focus that matters.  It is learning to focus on giving from the heart to others.  It is giving out of love and care not duty.   It is creating a space where others can freely express the heart’s desire and know that if you have the power you will grant it.  It is allowing them to focus on that for which they hope.

My focus must be on the gifts I can give to others whether they be material, social, or spiritual.  I wish every gift, no matter which form it takes to be wrapped identically in love and sharply focused on Christ.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

12 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ It is not the Things

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I was out and about yesterday I was at a store where Christmas shopping is in full fervor.  There were still Halloween clearance items Thanksgiving food and decorations around the fringe.  As I perused the Christmas isles I noted a few things that I wished to acquire.

It lead to me thinking about why those things found their way onto my list.  They are not for me.  These are intended gifts for others.  What is it about these mere things that brings to mind those I love?

Part of it is that I never give thoughtless gifts.  I consider the person and what I know of the needs and likes in choosing gifts for Christmas.  I want every gift to say to the receiver that I know and love him or her.  I wish it to touch more than the hands.  I wish it to touch the heart.

Too often we try to get through the gift acquiring without really considering what we are doing.  We are transferring a piece of our lives into the lives of others.  Our money comes form our work which is trading a piece of our life for money.  When we spend the money on a gift for someone we transfer that piece of our life to their possession. 

When we treat this process like a chore to be completed we are wasting a bit of our life.  We are also cheapening the life we invest in others when we do it without care.  Gifts are never just about the thing.  We send a message.  As we enter the time of giving thanks and gifts I must consider this.

When Items leap to mind I must assure that I consider my love for the person in choosing if it is given.  My gifts must come from my heart and life with a full measure of my desire so show my love and the love of him I follow.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

11 November 2017

Choosing What to Give ~ He Has Had Enough Sorrow

Greetings Dear Reader,

As we prepare our thinking about what to give we may wish to tick off a few things not to give.   One of things that we are good at giving each other is sorrow.  We are excellent at resurrecting pain and hurt and inflicting them on one another during the holiday season.

We bring to the gatherings our own anger and bitterness over things of the past.  We wrap them up in pride and self-centered thinking.  We blind ourselves to the good in others and only focus on what has hurt or angered us in the past. 

We could choose to approach things with a truly thankful heart for our family.  We could, simply put, decide that others have had enough sorrow.  We can choose to infuse the world with joy and love.  We can be forgiving, kind, loving even when it hurts us to do so. 

We choose how we treat each other.  We choose what we do to each other.  We choose to visit the past and its sorrows on people.  If we are going to enter into a time of thankfulness and giving why not do it by first laying aside our own pride and resentment? 

As I prepare my heart for this time that closes the year I have so much for which to be thankful and so much I wish to give.  I must do so first by assuring that my private hurts and losses are not center stage.  I must put Christ center state and allow all the love he holds for us to radiate in all that I think and do. 

We have all done enough to hurt each other.  It is time to grow up and be the ones who give forgiveness and kindness wrapped in the love of  the one who always forgives us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

10 November 2017

Second Thoughts – Are We Brave Enough to Truly Honor our Veterans?

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

It seems to me that I cannot escape the feeling that we have betrayed the blood of our veterans.  Men and Women have volunteered to leave family and home to enter harm’s way for us.  They have died, been wounded, and suffered trauma that will last the remainder of their lives.  How have we repaid them?

We have VA agencies that give poor if not criminal medical treatment.  We allow this to come to light and there is not a consensus of outrage.  We do not demand justice for them and destroy the pollical or professional careers of those who caused and allowed it.

Thousands of our veterans are homeless and we ignore the plight as we pass them by to get our pumpkin spice lattes.  We ignore them as we cue for a show at the downtown theater.  We sent them into hell and reject them because they came back smelling of sulfur. 

They stood on the line for our freedom and we squander that freedom over political posturing and pride.  What we should be doing is uniting in that freedom to show them and every American they defended love, kindness, compassion, and respect.

There is no excuse for us to thank them for their service and fail to use our freedom to serve each other.  We have paid for the party with our dearest blood and we demand more whilst our leaders on every side waste what they have given.  I am ashamed of what is becoming of a nation that can be an example of truth and justice if it chooses.  Instead the lives of our veterans are poured out like water in the sand. 

We need to wake up.  We need to truly honor their continuing sacrifice by building a UNITED States.  We need to use the mighty force we have to let go of greed and grasp ideas like honor and character again.

I am thankful for every soul that put his or her life on the line for my freedom.  I love and respect them.  I will honor them by treating everyone with love and respect.  I will thank them by being generous and kind.  It has always been the common man or woman who can change things in our nation.  Why don’t we commemorate our veterans by taking back the nation they preserve for us with a heavy serving of self-sacrifice and care for everyone?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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Choosing What to Give ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that you may think I am getting a bit cart and horse here.  I promise to get to gratitude and the giving of thanks.  I do want to address something that is already bombarding our senses and making demands on us.

I saw my first Christmas advertisement before Halloween.  It was enticing me to visit a local chain store for the revealing of their great toy wall.  The local department stores are already ribboned and wreathed.   The airwaves are filled with suggestions of what is best and what to buy.

Now I want to be clear that I think it is never too early to talk about Christmas.  It is never too early to think about giving.  I do think that if we take some time to ponder what we are giving it can make us better prepared for the onslaught of expectations.  The demands for our time and attention do not have to rule us.

In pondering what to give we should also ponder what not to give.  This can prepare us to give thanks properly as well.  I am going to spend a few days pondering what to do to prepare for giving, not giving, and giving thanks.  Please join me Dear Reader as I impose a little positive preparation prior to the onslaught of all that is commercial about Christmas. 

I love Christmas and want to assure that in preparing for it I have the right spirit and attitude.  Please walk with me Dear Reader and let me know your thoughts and questions. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

09 November 2017

Ponds and Rivers ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Water must flow to live.  If I ponder all the places where God talks about water he is clear that it must flow.  It must have life and movement to be of value.  I am not the water but must be the conduit for it.

Havasupai Oasis
I must take in what is given me, not pollute it, and send it on to others.  This begs the question then of what is the water that I must pass on.  Without being too repetitive the answer is very simple.  Jesus makes it clear that if we come to him he will give us living water.  This is the embodiment of the two great commandments.  He very clear that everything else rests on these two things:

Love the Father with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

I am intended to be a conduit for this living water.  I am not to boycott, hate, reject, or judge.  I am made for the purpose of assuring that the love of the Father flows through me to everyone.  I am not permitted to but political, social, or personal caveats that.  These pollute the water or hinder the flow. 

I am to love even those who hate me and want me dead.  I am required to assure that in the face of any opposition my actions are loving and kind.  The Father will take care of justice, retribution, and judgement.  Even in that understanding my heart must yearn for reconciliation, restoration, and reclamation.  In short with a very fine point on it, no matter what anyone has done to anyone else I must want him or her to find, understand, and embrace the love the Father has.

He assures me that if do this he will handle everything else.  He will also assure that if my delight is in him that I will not only be a good conduit but that I will produce beautiful valuable things in the process.  There is nothing better that I can imagine. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

08 November 2017

Second Thoughts – The Silence in the Corner

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

There is a new silence in my life.  It crept in last night unannounced and without invitation.  It is the silence of a song that had become the companion of my solitude as I research and write. 

It is in this silence that I find the waiting echoes of all the noises I had blocked out with his simple song.  Last evening my bird, Landroval died.  This morning his early song was eerily absent as I read my Bible and prayed.  Throughout the day his chirps and small attempts at speech were a cacophonous absence.  The echoes of other voices that reach for me were louder and I had to fight harder to get through the day un-distracted.

He is so easily gone but not so easily missed.  It seems foolish to feel so much over a bird because it is too much and still not enough.  I am sure some of my other pent up pain is drifting out with his loss.  I am sure that I do not fully understand the love the Father has for this tiny spark of his creation.

I do, however, feel the full depth of the love I have for him, his song, and the conversations we shared.  The silence in the corner will have lease for a time.  In this I must not fail to see the outworking of all things to eventual good.  This loss will make me a better follower if I allow it to do so.

One cannot control the things one would.  One does not always get to say goodbye.  One can always say, “May your eyries receive you at your journey’s end.”   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Ponds and Rivers ~ Frozen Streams

Greetings Dear Reader,

As we get our first touches of the impending winter I ponder the times I have walked on frozen lakes and rivers.  It is the cold that freezes the water.  Soon enough the local lakes will grow little villages of ice-fishing shacks.   People will skate up and down the couple of smaller rivers that grow enough ice to make it safe.

It is the rivers that have my attention.  Rivers do not freeze solid.  Beneath the thick layer of ice, they still flow.  The life in the river continues beneath the ice.  Fish still swim and feed.  The cold death above may hinder the flow but life is still there.  Movement is still continuous.

We become froze at times.  Our lives may be filled with some form of cold death on the surface.  There are difficulties that keep us from movement.  Pain or sickness may cause us to stop.  Fear may freeze our ability to act.  Even at our most frozen there is still life in us to be the conduit.

I must never let the winters in my life keep me from being the conduit I am meant to be.  Whatever my capacity to flow I must embrace that and seek to grow it even when it is painful or difficult.  I do have to know the resources.  I must use what I am given as I am given it.  The thaw will come and I must be ready when it does.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



07 November 2017

Ponds and Rivers ~ Run Deep

Greetings Dear Reader,

Having established that waters must move to live one must consider quality of movement.  The purpose of the river is to move water.  It is vital that the it moves what it takes in lest it overflow. 

Some rivers collect sediment and vegetation that must be dredged out to protect the flow.  Others cut deeper channels to take in the increase waters.  Some permanently overflow their banks making them wider.  Water will find a way to move. 

We want to be a conduit that runs deep.  We want to embody the idea that our still waters are the result of depth and flow.  Too often we are unwilling to change the channel through which the water must go to do this.  Without sending out all that we can we slow the flow and create a lack of depth and power. 

I do not wish to push the metaphor too far but the goal must always be constantly increasing the depth of our flow as conduits of the Father’s love and grace.  Since the source is the Father’s limitless supply we cannot lack from constantly passing it on to others.  The intent is for us to be constantly growing conduits.  The is our purpose.

If I am to do this I need to see everything as the opportunity to increase the flow.  Challenges, pain, sorrow, loss and death are all opportunities to allow the waters to run deeper.  When the rains come and things are good and plenty that increased conduit becomes more fully able to share its bounty.  If I do not continue to allow the flow, even in difficult times I will not be prepared for it when it comes.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)