Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Slice of Life: Celebrating Books and Friends!

I started my first book club in Houston in 1987 as a young mother of a one year old and a three year old. I refused to become like women I knew who would regretfully say, "I haven't read a book since I had children."

The next ten years found me reading books and gathering monthly with a delightful group of friends. We moved to the Seattle area in mid-1997. 

Within a few months, I launched another book club in 1998. We celebrated a landmark year, twenty-five years together, in Austin this past weekend. Twelve of us gathered, but we missed many who have been part of our group over the years. Five of the twelve who gathered were part of the founding group from twenty-five years ago. If you've ever been a part of this group, you were probably mentioned at our gathering. We love to stay connected with those who have moved away and usually someone in the group has stayed in touch.

We celebrated twenty years in Victoria, Canada; twenty-five years in Austin, Texas; and we have all kinds of ideas for our thirty year event - Prince Edward Island, a cruise, a European jaunt! But we've learned over the years that it isn't the destination that counts, it's the time together.

What did our celebration include? 

Late night conversations, laughter, two lovely breakfasts provided by superb cooks, a visit to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Rudy's BBQ and warm cookies at Mallory's home, a river cruise, walks together, Austin murals, dinner at Guero's Taco Bar, a sharing of our favorite book from the past year, a morning at the Capitol and the Texas Book Festival, Jeni's ice cream, and a late lunch at Licha's Cantina before it was off to the airport and a return to our regular lives. 

It was less than 48 hours of joyful friendship time, but the bliss we share as bookish friends remains. Even though quite a few of us have moved away, we still join the monthly book club gatherings on Zoom whenever we can. There's something unique about friends who bond over books!



Thursday, November 2, 2023

SJT: Renewal

It's easy to think of fall as a time of decay and death when nothing happens. Fran's topic of renewal encouraged me to look at Bible verses that speak of renewal giving me a changed attitude to this time of year.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2, New International Version

In Ephesians 4. we are taught to no longer be children, to put off our former selves. and to grow up unto Christ in all things. Wow! That's a task that is easier said than done.

However, the key to this arduous task of transforming our minds is found in this verse: "Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes." Ephesian 4:23 (New Living Translation)

Letting the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes requires that we study, pray, and listen. Having the help of the Spirit is the only way that we can cast aside the old (wo)man and embrace the new (wo)man. Growing up unto Christ is a lifelong task.

This writer refers to autumn as a "time of reflection and letting go of what doesn't serve us." We can use the slower pace of this season as an impetus to examine our spiritual journeys and make plans to renew our thoughts and attitudes. Indeed, the falling back of daylight savings time gives us an extra hour this upcoming weekend, a perfect time for reflection and renewal!

Fran at Lit Bits and Pieces is hosting this month. Pop over to read posts

as fellow travelers share their spiritual journeys. We welcome all to join us.