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(This chorus from “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti is one of my favorites in this charming and beautiful one-act opera – all of which is on my top ten list of favorite musical works.  The seasons of Christmas and Epiphany are the times of year when the opera is most usually performed.  If you have never seen it or heard it, I encourage you all to do so.)

The lyrics to this shepherd’s chorus are:

“Olives and quinces, apples and raisins, nutmeg and myrtle, medlars and chestnuts. This is all we shepherds can offer you.”

“Citrons and lemon, musk and pomegranates, goat cheese and walnuts, figs and cucumbers. This is all we shepherds can offer you.”

“Hazelnuts and camomile, mignonettes and laurel, honeycombs and cinnamon, thyme, mint and garlic. This is all we shepherds can offer you.”

The three kings express earnest appreciation as the shepherds describe and present their gifts. Between each set they sing:  “Thank you, thank you, thank you kindly!  Thank you, thank you kindly!  Thank you, thank you, thank you kindly, too!

I thought of this chorus not because I am a king, and you the shepherds, (nor vice-versa), but because it sings so beautifully the concept of generosity and receiving humbly.  Those two qualities are things to which all of you, my Gentle Readers, are a living testament.

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Here is today’s Monday Joy!

So you are asking yourself, why in the world has she posted this snippet from an opera? The answer is, because I have been gifted recently with some lovely gifts from some loyal readers-  “The Versatile Blogger Award.”  The fact that I have received this award from  others in the past does not diminish my pleasure in receiving it again!  I “thank you, thank you, thank you kindly!”  Your generosity in lifting my blog out of your blogroll is much appreciated.  You are all among the best parts of my day, each day!

(The Versatile Blogger Award has been given to me by “Bodhirose,” “View From the Side,” “I’ve been thinking about,” and “Wightrabbit’s Blog.”  They all prove they deserve the award themselves every time they post!  It has occurred to me that I have omitted one of my benefactors.  If it is you – please let me know, so I can properly thank you!)

Accepting the award comes with some obligations, which I have neglected in the past, and I mean to atone for now.  The award nominees must tell you seven things about themselves, and nominate seven bloggers to receive the award in return.  The first task is quite a bit harder than the second, which is  a pleasure to do, and I will present to you first.  I will limit my list to seven, although the versatile bloggers that I read on a daily and/or weekly basis far outnumber this seven that I have chosen for today.

Although some of the blogs that I read do not necessarily fall under the strictest definition of “versatile,” they definitely fill the bill in this sense, “having many uses or applications,” which is the fourth definition by Merriam-Webster.  All of my regular blog reads have served me in a number of different ways – they’ve made me laugh, made me think, made me cry, made me angry, inspired, and/or challenged me.  That’s a number of different applications if you ask me, and each blog individually does each at one time or another.  I hope you all will check out each one if you have not already and offer your hearty congratulations, thanks, and kudos! Subscribing to each blog is a wonderful way of showing your appreciation!

In no particular order:

http://danniehill.wordpress.com/  “Dannie C. Hill – the Writer” – a published author of some wonderful books (he’s still waiting for my reviews here at RFACM – and they will come, I promise!).  Take it from me, you will enjoy reading about this man’s exploits and his life in Thailand! His posts are far too infrequent, but worth waiting for!

http://artohline.wordpress.com – Abigail Rachel Tohline, (“Abby”) is my niece, the daughter of my brother Dick and his wife Starla.  Abby’s blog, “Abby’s Knits,” is a revelation of versatility.  She is an extraordinarily accomplished knitter, and frequently she features photos of her works and offers her patterns, but she also enjoys writing about what she does, and she shares it all with her readers.  The only drawback to Abby’s blog right now is that she has not posted anything in quite some time!  I’m hoping this award will jump-start her into getting back to business!  In the meantime – drop by and feast your eyes on some of Abby’s knitting and textile arts, and peruse her archives.

http://jpcabit.wordpress.com The “anonymous” J.P. Cabit is the builder and occupant of “House of Happy.”  HoH is delightful, and includes a little bit of everything.  He is an aspiring writer, and also the chief instigator of a site (the link to it is one of my pages) called “Excellence in Bad.”  We have been out of the habit recently, but we try to outdo one another in what we perceive as “bad” poetry.  While not posting on the EiB site very often, if you read our comments back and forth on his site as well as mine, you will be able to get some more samples. But do drop by and enjoy the mostly “Good” things J.P. has to say.

http://notquiteold.wordpress.com/ Nancy Roman is the author of “Not Quite Old,” which is one of the ways she describes herself.  She is as funny as they come, and you will also love reading about her life and family.  I am new to her blog, but reading through her archives tells me that I have so much to look forward to by following her blog.  You will too!

http://ninilovespie.wordpress.com – LaMonique of “Sweetie Pie” is as good as her blog’s name sounds! I have really enjoyed getting to know her and reading her insights on living and sharing of her thoughts and feelings.  Wonderful reading material – and usually very succinct and brief posts – a blessed relief after slogging through my long-winded ones!

http://youthinkyoucanblog.wordpress.com/Angelia Sims – a fabulous photographer and wonderful writer shares her gifts with her readers in “Living, Loving, Laughing.”  She brings all three of the title elements into her blog, and you will love seeing her original photography she is gracious enough to share with amateurs such as I.  Take a click over and feast your eyes!

http://andrawatkins.com/  Andra Watkins, “The Accidental Cootchie Mama.” I can’t help but love a blog with the tag line, “When too much is just enough. . .” (I added the italics of course!)  Andra never fails to entertain as well as educate, as she shares with you her own peculiar, and wonderful, well-informed opinions!  I don’t remember when I accidentally  “found” Andra, but I am so glad I did!  Find her on purpose by clicking on the link here!

So – seven things about myself that you probably don’t know. . .I wonder – haven’t I bared just about everything?  Have I kept anything sacrosanct?  Hmmm. . .let’s see – maybe there will be something here that even surprises Hubs!

1.  I have never been west of Cañon City, Colorado.  My paternal grandfather lived there when I was young, and my family traveled there one year to spend Christmas with him.  I long to travel all over the USA.  Maybe some day.

2.  I have a desire to hop on the Trans-Canadian Railway at its most eastern point, and ride it all the way to Vancouver – as far west as it runs!  What a trip!  Sometimes I dream of it.  Again, maybe some day.

3.  I came to downhill skiing as an adult – after I was married, and was able to pursue it for only a short time, but I fell in love with it – with the feel of the wind against my face as I glided down the slopes, the gorgeous panorama that I could enjoy as I raced down the hillside.  I miss it so much, but my very best dreams to this day (it has been over 30 years since I last skied), are of me feeling that wind in my face, and the sensation of gliding as my skis slice their way down the slopes.  Sheer joy.

4.  Our first son, Joshua, dislocated my tailbone as he was trying to make his way out of me to be born.  It is not the worst pain I have ever experienced to date, but it was back then!  BTW – I hold no grudges (it was well worth it), but I figured we are even – he had to have been born with a colossal headache!

5.  I follow a doctor’s instructions only so far.  I am not an “ideal” patient – never have been.  One thing I am extremely careful about, however, is taking antibiotics – making certain to finish each prescription, and only taking them when absolutely necessary.  Other than that, I generally follow my own instincts.  That has worked for me more often than not.  But then again I have had a lot of experience over the last 30 or so years with the medical profession, so I come by my physical self-knowledge by experience.  I don’t recommend my methods to anyone!

By now you are wondering, “How much longer can she go on?  Is she trying to break the blog record for longest post in history?  No – but I will make my last two bits of info very brief.

6.  I think out loud.  Not just to myself, but to everybody.  It drives my husband crazy.

7.  There is nothing that has happened to me that I have not found a way to grow through.  This observation, however, is one that I have only been able to make in retrospect.  But knowing that now means that I am not afraid for myself of anything that might happen.  In one fashion or another, I will get through it, and I will grow.

Now, even I can say – it is enough. . .

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