Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Slice of Life: It's a Process!

Today was not a snow day in the traditional sense. Kids and teachers had to go to school. We had snow flurries all day, but not much accumulation. This retired teacher had a busier than usual day. Daughter came over to pull out the Christmas decorations. Our smaller home means less space. So it's only the "dearly loved" that make the cut. And I realize that more donations need to be made, even though I thought I'd done a good job downsizing the decorations before the move. I remind myself, "It's a process."

When the grand boys returned to their house, they played outside in the snow. Morning play was met with wet pants and underwear, so they opted for their snow gear for afternoon play. And then big brother came home from school and it was time for more snow play until it was dark. Just ask my daughter, "Playing in the snow (even when there isn't much of it) can be an all-day process."

Tonight was book club. I didn't want to go out in the snow and several couldn't attend in person, so we opted for the pandemic model and had a Zoom book club meeting. It may not be optimal, but it allowed for the most participants to come. I'm getting to know a new group of book lovers in my new congregation. Making new friends is (you guessed it!) a process. But it's definitely easier with a shared interest.

I like making new discoveries at our new place. And today, I spied my own little Christmas tree in the back yard. It's been there all along, but it's a stand out star with a few flakes adorning its green needles. I'm learning to find the beauty in my new surroundings. "It's a process."

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Slice of Life: Friends Old and New

I opened Amy's invitation to write and found this quote: "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new." -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I have written less lately than I have in a long time. But an invitation to write about friends is an easy one. Friends keep me sane and make me laugh, friends help me remember (that's why we need old friends), and friends offer listening ears, helping hands, and comforting embraces.

We recently moved (just thirty minutes away) from where we lived for twenty-five years. It's hard to grow new friends. It's a quick drive back to visit my old friends and I do it often. 

But I'm beginning to discover new friends too. I'm grateful for the smiles I receive at church, the new friend who notices me sitting alone in Sunday School and joins me on an empty row, the new friend who sent me a text (after I asked for a ride to book club) "Looking forward to spending more time with you," the new friend who sat beside me and giggled during Sunday School as we decided that Psalms was written for senior citizens with its many admonitions about falling, the new friend who made time to ask how I'm settling in, a new friend who loves picture books as much as I do (I find myself tucking new finds into my church bag to share with her), and the easy camaraderie that came with my first book club meeting last week with new friends. 

And finally a note to my dear slicer friends. I've met a few of you in person. But we don't have to meet to be dear friends because of the connections we've shared through this community. However, there's a special feeling that comes when we embrace in person. Some of us won't be at NCTE, but we'll be thinking of those of you who will be there. So enjoy that slicer dinner and those occasional meet ups! I look forward to hearing from you next week as you share the joy that comes from finally attending another NCTE in person. 

I'm a firm believer in the song I learned as a Brownie scout: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." I love filling my life with friends. They are one of life's true treasures.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Finding the Holy

Fran Haley is hosting our gathering today on the theme of holy. Her post reminded us that "...the holy is always there, like a luminous lifeline." The holy is not something to be reserved for Sundays or holy days, but surrounds us every day, if we slow down and pay attention. 

A favorite author of mine, Emily Belle Freeman, in her book Becoming His: A Daily Journey Toward Discipleship points out that becoming holy might ask us " lay aside the task we are focused on to look for the glory of God in the ordinary details of each day. We must learn to turn aside to witness the miracle in the midst of the mundane." She posits that it is in finding holy moments daily that we can become whole.

Thinking about the miracle in the midst of the mundane sent me in search of this favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

And I want to add, "welcome it in every brilliant fall leaf." I love the glory of God reflected in nature and I thank him as I drink in the glory of fall color that surrounds and blesses me. 

These words from Fran's post, "In the end, it is all a matter of opening the soul to seeing," reminded me of this quote from Emily Dickinson:

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

Thanks, Fran, for this reminder to open our souls to seeing and welcoming the holy, blissful moments in our days. I know they are there if we look for them. Check out Fran's post at Lit Bits and Pieces where you can find links to more posts from SJT friends.


Here are a few pictures of beauty and holy moments I've captured, examples of
God's handwriting in my world. 


I welcomed these fair faces at my door this past week:

I'll be visiting these cuties this month!

This collection of fall color (I limited myself to seven) 

spans many years, but the last two 

were taken this year in our new neighborhood:

This final pic captures a holy moment last month
as Grandpa readies grandson for naptime: