Five things that made me happy today – 6/30/19

1. I was Lay Leader at 9:00 am church again this morning (YAWN). It was good to have Sarah back in the pulpit after a well-earned vacation. She started a sermon series on the Fruits of the Spirit and we had a new visual decoration. Those “seed packets” say, “Scripture, Prayer, Body, Meditation, Social Justice, Writing, Beauty, Music and Sabbath”. They are the Spiritual Practices that help us cultivate the Fruits of the Spirit.

2. Since I had to be up and out the door by the time I’m usually dressing, I didn’t get breakfast before church. We had planned to go to our local diner-type place, but, alas, they were having a bike rally and the streets were blocked. We thought about several other places, but finally decided on McDonalds. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but McDonalds does a really great job with breakfasts. Their scrambled eggs are just right, not too runny, and not too hard. The pancakes are fluffy, and the biscuits are perfect. I know it’s standardized within an inch of its life, but they’ve solved all the potential problems with breakfast fast food.

3. I got my “month in review” written and posted this afternoon. Sometimes I’m several days late, but I was on time this time.

4. Took a nice little walk around the campus in the sunshine and breezes. I only had to wear one outfit all day today. Warm enough for a lightweight blouse this morning, cool enough to wear it all afternoon.

5. Still full from brunch at McDonalds, but I guess I’ll have an Atkins bar for supper so I don’t wake up starving in the middle of the night.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions Review for June 2019

My Star Word for this year is “Empathy”. The internet defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster says, “Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling.”

Here are my intentions for 2019.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 20 more pounds this year. – I’ve lost 6.2 lbs this year so far.
  • Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – Since I got my release from the surgeon, I’ve been averaging almost 14,000 steps per day. I’ve been working up to it by taking longer and longer walks. Yesterday, I walked through the woods and down the hill next door (complete with up the hill to get to the place where I could go down and back up to the house.)
  • My post-op appointment was June 6, and I was released with no restrictions except a 15-lb limit on lifting anything and no core work. Those restrictions will be lifted July 5th.
  • My personal trainer is working on a 360 Wellness trainer certification, and I’m being one of her Guinea pigs. It focuses on physical health, emotional health, intellectual health, spiritual health, and the balance in all those things. (I didn’t know it when I started this monthly blog series, but she must have been reading my mind.)

Emotional Health

  • I AM trying to remember “empathy” in my interactions with people I meet.
  • I still haven’t been billed for anything from my month with doctors and hospitals, but I have seen the statements sent to Tricare and Medicare. If I didn’t have this medical insurance I would have had to pay upwards of $50,000 for three emergency room visits and day surgery. I have more and more empathy for folks who have less than adequate health insurance.
  • Early in the year I started posting Five Things that Made Me Happy Today every day on Facebook. Earlier this month I moved those posts to this blog because it’s hard to go back and find things on Facebook. I started doing it because I realized I was spending a lot of my time focused on the awful stuff (and there’s plenty of it) going on in this country and the world right now. By forcing myself to write about five good things every day, I have to 1. keep looking for them, and 2. remember them for several hours. If you are subscribed to this blog, you should have been getting them in your email. If not, go ahead and subscribe.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this year.
    • The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
    • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
    • Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – finished
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – finished
    • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor – finished
    • Entering the Passion of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine – finished
    • Silent Night by Danielle Steele – finished
    • Autumn by Ali Smith – finished
    • Winter by Ali Smith – finished
    •  A Good Year by Peter Mayle – finished
    •  Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley – finished
    • The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman – finished
    •  Wife of Moon by Margaret Coel – finished
    •  Cleaning the Gold by Karen Slaughter and Lee Child – finished
    •  Beyond the Garden by Ashley Farley – finished
    • Everything is F*cked – a Book about Hope by Mark Manson – finished
    • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – finished
    • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – reading
  • Continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times for reasonably non-biased reporting. – I scan the headlines and read articles that interest me.
  • I subscribe to Mediumand have read several articles of current interest.
  • I also subscribe to The New Yorker magazine, digitally. I keep up with the east coast scene through it, as well as some pretty decent profiles of political figures.
  • Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check
  • The Poetry class is finished for this quarter. I finished my little book with illustrations, collages, and poetry this week. It was as much crafty as it was literary, but it was interesting.
  • I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Big Al and I are members of a Great Decisions discussion group here at Franke Tobey Jones. We’ve been doing it for a couple of years now. The topic this month was Nationalism in Europe and I was the discussion leader. It’s sponsored and published by the Foreign Policy Association, and does a really balanced job of talking about hot topics in world affairs. The only problem is the workbooks and DVDs are done in the fall, and often, as was the case this month, events in the course have been superceded by actual events in the world today. Nevertheless, it’s interesting and enjoyable.

Spiritual Health

  • Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship. We’re finished with our 6-week break from Bible Study and will resume in July 2. I managed to attend worship every Sunday, including serving as Lay Leader for three Sundays, two of which were while the pastor was on a well-deserved vacation.
  • Try to carve out time daily for intentional prayer and meditation. I’ve subscribed to several email “prompts” that arrive in my inbox every morning. The Upper Room has a couple of short reflections and/or devotionals every morning, and A Network for Gratefulness also gives me something to think about as I go about my day.
  • I’m lobbying for my church to become an Earth Care Congregation with PC(USA). My current focus is with Plastic Free EcoChallenge as a member of the Presbyterians for Earth Care. Environmental action is near and dear to my heart, and I understand that we MUST solve these problems if we expect to leave a decent planet for our children and grandchildren.

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones. – I still regularly attend the Gazebo Group (the folks who meet on Monday evenings for Happy Hour.) I also participate in the Wellness Center activities like the Owen Beach walk most Fridays.
  • Because most of the staff here at FTJ have holidays off leaving the residents with no family in the area with little to nothing to do except vegetate, every 4th of July I organize a potluck evening meal in the Gazebo. Anyone on campus who wants to come is invited. I don’t do much except arrange for extra chairs, an extra table and a big garbage can that the maintenance folks bring the day before and pick up the day after.
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. – I will return to Bible Study when it resumes in July. Coffee Hour is between the services, and it is held upstairs (adjacent to the Sanctuary), so I’ve been going pretty regularly.
  • Tend the relationships I have on Social Media. I’m making an effort to avoid posting or reposting political articles, although I do still try to call out blatant racism, sexism, misogyny, etc. when it comes to my page.


  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials.
  • Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. Next meetings are scheduled for an on-line meeting in November and a face-to-face meeting in March.
  • Support #BlackLiveMatter, #Me,Too, #ThePoorPeople’sCampaign, #ClimateAction, and other social justice movements. – I donate regularly to MoveOn, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I attend rallies and marches if I’m available.


Five things that made me happy today – 6/28/19

1. Nice weather again today with cool breezes and scattered clouds.

2. I was up (a little) early this morning to go to a dental appointment for teeth cleaning. I’m so pleased that Big Al and I get to support the life style of the dentists in Tacoma (not).

3. Nice walk at Owen Beach with the Wellness Center folks. I know I probably should walk more than sit and look at the water, but I love the scenery, and watching the ripples, and searching the surface for seals, sea lions, and otters.

4. Ice Cream on the front porch of Lillian Pratt. I had butter pecan with chocolate sauce. (Don’t ask me how many scoops.)

5. I discovered that the apps on my phone haven’t been updating (although I told it to automagically update when needed), so I spent time this morning updating it. I apparently had changed my password for the Apple Store sometime in the past and hadn’t written down my new password, so I had to spend time doing that update for it and for the iPad. I’ll probably have to do the same thing on the Apple TV box this evening. I suppose it’s a good thing and is keeping my data safe, but who knows.

How about you? What made you happy toda

Five things that made me happy today – 6/27/19

1. Cool, partly cloudy day, with a (believe it or not) thunder shower this afternoon. Hand to God! we had thunder.

2. Lunch in the Bistro. I won a victory because they were threatening not to open the Wellness Center on the 4th of July. We have little to nothing to do with ourselves on national holidays (all the staff take a well-earned holiday) but it’s hard on some of the folks here who don’t have families in the area.

3. Good session with my personal trainer. She is working on a coaching certification and is helping me decide what project I’m passionate about. I’m trying to get my church to seek certification as an Earth Care Congregation from the Presbyterian Church (USA). I spent most of the late afternoon looking through the qualifications and starting to write up a proposal.

4. We had the last session of our writing class this afternoon. Here is one of the poems I wrote to go with the following photo.


As my existential angst begins to eat at my soul,

Mount St Helen’s gives me hope for the earth, if not for us.

We sit on the edge of destruction knowing

The cataclysm is coming,

And we’re seemingly powerless to stop it,

Or to save ourselves.

I become more discouraged every day

When I read of new attacks on the environment

Because some in the government

Refuse to admit to the scientific realities.

I must have faith that in life and death

We belong to God.

5. The second Democratic Debate is this evening. I was very frustrated because only 6.5 minutes were devoted to Climate Change last night. One candidate even said, “the people in my district don’t care about climate change – they want to know about jobs, and salaries, and healthcare – something that matters to their day to day lives.” He’s from the mid-west – and half of his people are sitting in muddy fields with no possibility of a crop this year. We’ve got to quit focusing on our immediate pocketbooks, and start to look at the bigger picture.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/26/19

1. Good night’s sleep last night. I usually sleep well, but last night it seemed even better.

2. Today for lunch we were invited to eat in the dining room in honor of our anniversary. They did a Chinese menu, but I wasn’t impressed with it. I had sweet & sour pork, braised bok choy, and fried rice. It was okay, I suppose, and at least I didn’t have to cook it. The cake and ice cream for dessert was good.

3. We’re actually getting a little rain. It’s been threatening all day, and now there are actual drops falling from the sky. At least it held off until we got home. I’ve gotten out of the habit of carrying an umbrella.

4. I looked up biodegradable eating utensils on Amazon, and they have a bunch of them for VERY reasonable prices. I’m going to order some for the 4th of July Potluck that Big Al and I host every year. I always worry about using the plastic knives, forks, and spoons, and the plastic plates and glasses. If these are okay, I’m going on a crusade to get the dining room to use them in box lunches, and for the annual picnic. I may not make any headway, but at least I’m going to try.

5. The first Democratic Debate is this evening, and I’m interested to see how Jay Inslee stacks up against the others in his group. I’m absolutely convinced that climate change is the one thing we HAVE to get right. I think his plans are good, but we shall see if he can make an impression on the rest of the country.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/25/19

1. Big Al’s eye is much better today after applying antibiotic salve and hot compresses.

2. I led the discussion today for “Great Decisions” which is published by the Foreign Policy Association. We talked about Europe and the rise of Nationalism. We didn’t come to any decisions, but we were happy that the results of the EU Parliament elections show a slight shift to center. We all – liberals and conservatives – have got to learn to work together.

See the source image

3. It’s getting cooler and cloudy. One forecast says we should get rain tomorrow, another has backed off and says cloudy with rain “showers” on Thursday. We really need rain. I don’t want to spend this summer choking from the smoke from the fires again this year.

4. The housekeepers came today, so I have clean sheets on the bed and clean bathrooms and kitchen! That always makes me happy.

5. I think they may have solved the problems with the sprinkler system for the lawn. I heard them turn on about 3:30 am for the first time in a while and one of the landscapers vowed and swore that all the heads had been checked and were working. I’ll continue to water the really dry places in the front yard until they green up, though. Trust but verify.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/24/19

1. I put new seed in the bird feeder almost a week ago, and all I’ve had visiting were the chickadees. I don’t dislike the chickadees, but the juncos and finches seemed to have deserted me. The white-crowned sparrows are around (I can hear them), but not visiting the feeder. Low and behold, this morning, I looked out and there was a purple finch in all his bright glory. I guess the word is spreading about the seed in the finch community, because now there’s a goldfinch chowing down!

See the source image

2. Today was Mama and Papa’s anniversary. They were married on this day in 1943 during WWII. They celebrated 50 years together in 1993, then Mama died in 1997, and Papa died in 2008. I remember sitting in church with Papa on June 24th in about 2004 or 2005, and he wrote me a note on his bulletin under the date. “Mama’s and my anniversary.”

3. Big Al had an appointment for his yearly follow-up on his cataract surgery. Last Friday he woke up with a terribly bloodshot eye, and an “aching eyeball”. Since he already had the appointment scheduled for today, we didn’t worry too much about it, but it was still hurting and bloodshot today when we went. The ophthalmologist looked at it, and gave him a prescription for an antibiotic ointment, and had him make another appointment for the follow-up. Apparently he has an infected tear duct, so it’s ointment applications four times a day, and hot compresses for the next couple of weeks. He was convinced he had cancer of the eyeball (is there even any such a thing?), so he is relieved, and so am I.

4.Gazebo Group met today at 5:00 pm. Always a happy occasion, particularly when, like today, it’s warm enough to enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine and cool breezes.

5.I’m off to a party for a woman who is running for City Council. Both of my friendly City Council members are term limited, so we need to get some progressives to replace them. All politics are local!

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today- 6/23/19

1. The lectionary today was about the man who Jesus cast out a Legion of demons from. The preacher asked us what were our demons and what were the demons of our society. Misogyny, racism, sexism, heteronomativism, lack of care for the earth, lack of care for others, etc., etc., etc. I’ve been pondering that all day.

2. I was the Lay Leader this morning at the 9:00 o’clock service. I enjoy doing that, but I don’t enjoy the hour.

3. Dinner on the waterfront at Harbor Lights. They have surf and turf on Sundays and I had Steak Oscar. Very tasty.

4. I finished “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. I highly recommend it.

5. In and amongst the reading of the book, I took a nice nap. I had to get up earlier than I might have wanted (see #1).

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/22/19

1. Trip to the Farmer’s Market bright and early this morning. There was much despair since the asparagus has come to the end of its season. To make up for it I got two scones for me and two lemon bars for Big Al, and there was much rejoicing.

2. I’ve been playing with this blog to (hopefully) update the look and make it more modern. Suggestions, and likes and dislikes about the changes are requested, and welcomed.

3. We’ve been following the Women’s World Cup. The USA team seems to be up to its winning ways again. I know there was some controversy about the score in the first game against Thailand (13-0). I agree that they shouldn’t have held back. It’s really hard to recover from going easy on an opponent, and they are still doing well.

4. I got tickled at Big Al today. He went to sleep in his chair out in the living room last night, and it scared him when he woke up to come to bed and it was light outside. Of course, he usually comes to bed about 3:30 or 4:00, and by 4:00 it was already light. He thought he had slept in the chair through the whole night.

5. The sun finally came out from behind the clouds about 4:15 this afternoon. It was pretty cool until then, but the blue skies are out now, and we’ll have another four or five hours of sunshine. That’s life at this latitude in the midsummer.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/21/19

1. In honor of the solstice the birds outside my window greeted the dawn at 4:02 am.

2. One of my friends here at FTJ had a ladies’ luncheon today (also in honor of the solstice). She fixed ham salad on croissants, spinach and berry salad, deviled eggs, and chocolate cake for dessert. Very tasty and fun to have lunch with all the ladies from the duplexes.

3. We finished lunch in time to go to Owen Beach for a nice walk and some time in the sunshine. There were two seals patrolling the shoreline, fishing. It was super low tide, so I’m afraid they weren’t catching much for their dinner.

4. Ice Cream social this afternoon on the front porch of Lillian Pratt building here at FTJ.

5. I’m finally able to tell y’all that #2 son and his family are leaving Alabama, and moving to Washington State. All those of you who have been praying with and for me – Thanks! I’m hoping to have them up here by the middle of July! Thankfulness, and joy reign supreme!

How about you? What made you happy today?