Monday, November 15, 2021

Sharing Our Story & Slice of Life: Sweet Words

I was absolutely positive that they had a new person penning the quotes. I used to love opening a Dove chocolate and reading the quote on the foil wrapper. When I was teaching, I kept my favorite foil quotes on a bulletin board near my desk. When I retired, I put them into a little photo binder.

However, for quite a few years, each time I purchased Dove chocolate and eagerly unwrapped the foil wrapper, the words failed to resonate or touch me or delight me like they used to. And so I quit buying Dove Dark Chocolates since they weren't delivering words that lifted me, only words that disappointed me. The chocolate was still good, but I yearned for the soul satisfying words that left me filled with chocolate and sweet words. 

I remained disconsolate until a couple of weeks ago. I was in Target after Halloween and picked up some florescent M&Ms and a package of Dove Dark Chocolates shaped like pumpkins at rock-bottom, after-Halloween, sale prices!

Here's the first quote from my package of pumpkin Dove Dark Chocolates.


 "It's time for bright leaves, bonfires, and blankets." 

Almost perfect, but I would have to add books to the litany: "It's time for bright leaves, bonfires, blankets, and books." I loved it! Maybe it's because I adore fall that I continued to find quotes I loved on the foil wrappers of my daily Dove Dark Chocolate.

  • Never be too old for jumping in leaves.
  • Chocolate is a fall color.
  • Prefer piles of chocolate or piles of leaves?
  • This isn't a foil. It's a costume.
  • Relax for a "spell."
  • For now, falling leaves. Soon, falling snow.

It's true that I may be re-addicted to Dove Dark Chocolates . . .  all because of after-Halloween, rock-bottom sale prices (and I suspect, a new quote writer). Way to go, Dove!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday, Poetry Friday & Sharing Our Stories: Gratitude

Denise Krebs at Dare to Care 
is gathering our gratitude posts 
for Spiritual Journey Thursday. 
 

 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading 
is gathering all things poetic for Poetry Friday
.
Fall is a favorite time of year for me and November is one of the best months of the season. I proudly call myself a fall fanatic. You can see my 2020 collection of favorite fall photos here. November's slower pace (before the rush of December) gives me pause to reflect on my many blessings. The rains have settled in (and we celebrate rare moments of sunshine), the cozy season has arrived (sweaters, blankets, good books, hot chocolate), and fall colors continue to enliven our gray palette (for a bit longer). 
 
The first two poems are an attempt to try my hand at a new-to-me form, the hay(na)ku, a form introduced to me by Denise Krebs. Here's Denise's explanation of the form:

"Traditionally, Hay(na)ku have:

  • 3 lines
  • A total of 6 words – 1 in the first, 2 in the second, and 3 in the third
  • No syllable, rhythm, or meter constraints.
  • You can also write reverse hay(na)kus." 

Red 
and green
prelude for December


My daughter and her husband have a Pie Night each year in November (at least they used to before the pandemic). They bake many pies and invite other families over to eat pie and visit. I love this pic I snapped two years ago of siblings who couldn't wait to return to the world of words after their pie.
Enchanted 
words bewitch
to fantastic worlds
 

My final poem is a "free-from-form" poem.
No syllable counts or words of gratitude, 
just leaving you with a touch of whimsy! 

NOVEMBER'S BOUNTY

The table is heaped

and every chair is filled.

Come, my friends, to share our abundance.

BYOR 

(Bring your own rake)!

Enjoy this John Rutter composition of a virtual choir from Georgetown University Music Ministry singing one of my favorite hymns, For the Beauty of the Earth

Ever grateful for "..friends on earth, and friends above.." (especially friends online) who enrich my life each day. Happy November!

I love to join my friends at Sharing Our Stories on Thursdays!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sharing Our Stories & Slice of Life: Good Laughter!

 "We are all here for a spell. Get all the good laughs you can." — Will Rogers

I was staying at my daughter's home while my son-in-law was traveling for work. Her new baby was two months old, and with two brothers, ages two and four, I was trying to get a head start on the day. I wanted to get showered and dressed before the children were awake at seven. 

As I rubbed hair gel into my damp hair, I was dismayed to discover that I still had shampoo in my hair. I turned on the shower, rinsed my hair, and towel dried it for the second time. 

As I began to gel my hair again, I discovered that I STILL had shampoo in my hair. I tried to figure out why this was happening. Maybe her shower head was not strong enough to rinse out the shampoo, so I decided to head to the kitchen to rinse my hair once more. Maybe the more direct pressure would solve my problem. I felt the minutes evaporating, knowing that my wish to be ready for the day before the kids woke up was disappearing. 

As I tried to explain the problem to my daughter (who is not a morning person and was enjoying a few precious moments of alone time!), she was puzzled and thought I wanted HER to rinse my hair. No, I just wanted to be sure that it was okay with her for me to rinse my hair in the kitchen sink (something I did frequently while growing up in the sixties). I made sure to rinse long enough to get out any lingering shampoo and returned to the bathroom. As I squirted the gel into my hand, realization finally dawned! 

The blue travel bottle that usually holds my hair gel had shampoo in it instead of hair gel. (And the reason? Why, that's a slice I'll save for another day. Another mystery and another story.) I chuckled with laughter knowing that I had been putting shampoo on my hair each time instead of hair gel. 

And when I told my daughter about it . . . she commented that my hair had looked really "different" the day before. Although I hadn't noticed the suds, I did notice having difficulty styling my hair. But when you have three boys, four and under in the house, your hair takes a back seat to more important matters. 

I've laughed every time I think about this morning even though it happened almost a month ago. Some mistakes make for good laughter.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Here

Welcome to this community where we support one another on our spiritual journeys. This month, I'm hosting our gathering and offered the word "here" as the prompt. I look forward to your posts and to the insight you will bring to our gathering this month. 

I have enjoyed searching for appearances of here after I selected the word based on Emily P. Freeman's podcast #188: You Are Here (And It Matters). And here's a quote I shared from the podcast:  

"What if you being all the way here actually mattered, with your cold feet and your stomach ache and the light shining through the window. You with your stack of books, by the bedside table and hopeful feeling inside your heart. You with your deep grief, over a loss you thought you’d be over by now, standing in the kitchen while you microwave your coffee. For now, this is true. So what is true of you? And do you really believe God is with you no matter what? That you are not alone, that you don’t have to be you all by yourself? Here’s to being where you already are. Fully present with all that is true. And then here’s to doing your next right thing in love."

Last week, on a walk in my neighborhood park, I was thrilled to watch a pileated woodpecker winding his way up the tree trunk searching for tasty morsels in the bark. Lucky me, to be here at the same time as this magnificent bird!

Yesterday, I found myself totally here with grandson, Oliver. There's something about an almost three month old that makes it easy to be here, to be present in the moment, to coax him to share his beautiful smiles, to not look away for an instant, (for if I do, he will surely grow up without me noticing and celebrating him along the way).  

I stopped this morning while running errands to savor the colors and the sky and the trees. Even though I've taken pictures of these same trees bedecked in autumn splendor before, I loved pausing to see them here and now, in the glory of today's moment.


 


One of my "do something" goals for 2021 is more stillness. I'm trying to learn to meditate. It's a process. I love these words I jotted in one of my quote books from blogger, River Brown.

"Breathe.

You're here.

You are supported.

Even loved.

Let that in."

         -River Brown

My afternoon walk included time to notice the changing colors in a nearby neighborhood as I listened to another podcast, Kelly Corrigan Wonders, Episode #54, Perfectly Imperfect with Anne Lamott. I highly recommend this episode when you have the time.

At the end of the episode, Kelly asks Anne this question, "Why are we here?" 

And Anne answers that it is "... to carry the word that there is goodness and that there is beauty and that most of all, we're all in this together."

Thank you for showing up here to share your story on Spiritual Journey Thursday. Your words add hope and goodness and beauty to my spiritual journey. We are an open community and welcome anyone who would like to join us. Leave a link to your blog post in the comments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sharing Our Stories: A Profusion of Photos!

I love to join my friends at Sharing Our Stories on Thursdays!

We've been anticipating this trip for weeks!

Hello, Grandpa!
Hello, Grandma!
 Introducing Lily!

Want to learn about the solar system and dinosaurs?
Hang out with a five year old!


The Dinosaur Park moved to a five star rating when Teddy discovered the playground. We didn't know if it had a playground, but Teddy assured us that a park would DEFINITELY include a playground,

and he was right!

The playground even had a dinosaur you could touch!

We spent lots of time outside.

Teddy played baseball with sidewalk spectators.


 
And captured a grasshopper to examine closely!

We played Go Fish  
and enjoyed dinner on the deck each night with 
a  light show one evening,
complete with thunderous sound effects!
 

When Baba and Aunt Amy joined us one evening, Ruthie became very animated.

She's still a bit hesitant about walking, but a stroller walk is good! 

 
 

 And Dad is her favorite buddy.
A lapful of love!
 
Teddy's decided that we always make Muddy Buddies when I visit. 
 
 And shaking is the most important step!

A group pic to savor until we can gather again!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Come Hike with Us!

 

Karen is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday this month. She asked us to write about virtue and sent us an extensive list of virtues. When I scanned Karen's list, I found several were apropos for the experience I wanted to share. So if you find yourself needing to let go of your cares and worries, nothing can beat the contentment and joyfulness of spending time in the glorious creations of God manifest in our natural world. Throw in the energy, motivation, zest, enthusiasm and passion of my hiking companions and you're sure to walk away with a renewed feeling of calmness, serenity, centeredness, peace, and gratitude.

He's almost 7 weeks old. He logged his first hike this week. He slept through almost every step. 

We took a quick detour to see the bridge over the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Our walk through the parking lot to the trailhead netted our first wildlife sighting. 

With a four year old and a two year old (and the baby) in tow, we intentionally planned a short hike. We'd hike a half mile in and then return to enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back home.

We paused often to look around, to pick up sticks, and to summit rocks. We listened to the birds, the sound of pine needles falling (you can hear them), and the rushing sound of the river.

At the halfway point we paused for trail mix and a compass lesson with Grandpa. Big brother pointed out the giant leaves just like the ones we saw once at the park back home. When middle brother found a dried twig with pine needles that became an imaginary spider, big brother insisted on backtracking in search of one of his own. We failed to find one and I spent the rest of the hike scanning the trail for him. Nothing compared to his squeals of delight when he found one all by himself just before we arrived at the picnic table.

By this time, baby brother was awake, so he and Mom headed to the van for lunch. The wind had picked up a bit and middle brother was ready for the jacket he had refused while we hiked. Big brother was so cold that he added the comfort of Grandpa's puffy jacket to his jacket. And Grandpa, always prepared, retrieved his second jacket from the van. 

When Mom emerged from the van ready for her lunch, Grandpa and I happily took turns with baby brother who was enthralled by the green trees, the blue sky, and the gentle caresses of the wind.


As we began our return journey home, we were captivated by the mother deer who herded her twins across the road just in front of us, only to have one dash back across the road. We felt blessed that our adventure had included an adult to look out for each child! 

And we made one stop on the way home: to check out the low water crossing with vented stones and a culvert (which Jack correctly named because there are culverts in Dragons of Blueland). The creek bed was completely dry (evidence of our lack of rain this summer). 

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to share life with these little ones and experience their wonder and delight in our natural world.