Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving into Advent: Reading and Planning

So now we enter into the final few days before Thanksgiving--and then, the Christmas season!  Each day, I've thought that maybe I would begin to put away the autumnal decorations and begin the shift to Christmas.  Each day, I have not.  My life seems to get more busy, and I find myself pulled away from the house for longer periods.

I've seen some interesting articles for your Sunday reading and Sunday inspiration.  This article in The Washington Post has some fascinating details about the no-entry zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.  I find myself thinking about that farmer who goes back on a daily basis.  I think about the cows left to fend for themselves.  I think about what's left behind.

I know that many of us write poems with apocalyptic themes, imagery, and overtones--if that's you, don't miss this article--lots of inspiration here.

It makes me thankful to be in my own house.  It makes me realize how quickly everything I love could be lost.  I think of hurricanes, but there are any number of horrible things that could happen.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I've written periodically about the issue of talent vs. practice.  I've written about Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, and the idea that you need 10,000 hours of practice in any discipline to get really good.  But here comes an article in The New York Times that refutes that idea, an article that says intelligence counts for success more often than we want to admit.

But maybe you want something more optimistic than a post-nuclear accident wasteland or an intelligence is destiny outlook.  Check out this article in The New York Times by Mark Bittman.  He reminds us of all the ways that our food situation has gotten so much better lately:  farmer's markets are gaining ground (half as many as McDonald's), we have better food labels, we have an increased food consciousness on all sorts of levels.  As you plan your feast, this article reminds us that we've got lots to be thankful for in the food arena.

And for those of you who are ready to move on to the Christmas season, you might read this blog post that I wrote for my theology blog, where I think about what it means when my deeply atheist friend finds herself yearning to celebrate Advent in the non-commercial ways that her family celebrated when she was a child.

Today is a good day to take some assessment:  what do we hope to have accomplished by this time next week?  A good meal, all our Christmas shopping done on Black Friday, to make it through Thanksgiving with no fights with our loved ones?  And it's a good day to think ahead to Advent, the 4 weeks before Christmas.  How will we maintain our composure and our groundedness?  What can help us avoid the frazzled busyness that so many of us experience?

No comments: