Intentions Review for December 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. Since my colonoscopy, on the recommendation of my gastroenterologist, I am trying to eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber every day. Since fiber is usually paired with carbs, I’m not losing as quickly as I probably might, but I’m eating real food, not fast food.
  • I will admit that over the five days of Thanksgiving vacation, I ate whatever I wanted, and didn’t exercise at all. But I’m crawling back on the fitness wheel tomorrow.
  • Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – done. I’ve upped my step count target to 12,000 steps a day and continue to meet that goal..
  • My personal trainer has scheduled me for 3 days a week and I’ve been trying to walk a little bit, even if it’s only around the grocery store, every morning. Walking outside is not fun, now that we’ve entered “the Big Dark” of cloudy skies and/or fog almost every day.

Emotional Health

  • I AM trying to remember “empathy” in my interactions with people I meet.
  • I have continued posting Five Things that Made Me Happy Today every day here on this blog. I don’t do it for other people – I do it for myself – to remind me how much I have to be thankful for.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this year.
    1. The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
    2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
    3. Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
    4. Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – finished
    5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – finished
    6. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor – finished
    7. Entering the Passion of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine – finished
    8. Silent Night by Danielle Steele – finished
    9. Autumn by Ali Smith – finished
    10. Winter by Ali Smith – finished
    11.  A Good Year by Peter Mayle – finished
    12.  Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley – finished
    13. The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman – finished
    14.  Wife of Moon by Margaret Coel – finished
    15.  Cleaning the Gold by Karen Slaughter and Lee Child – finished
    16.  Beyond the Garden by Ashley Farley – finished
    17. Everything is F*cked – a Book about Hope by Mark Manson – finished
    18. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – finished
    19. The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – finished
    20. There, There by Tommy Orange – finished
    21. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf – finished
    22. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – finished
    23. Calico Joe by John Grisham – finished
    24. The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead -finished
    25. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – finished
    26. Kindred by Octavia E Butler – finished
    27. The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck – finished
    28. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – finished
    29.  No Winter Lasts Forever by Fran Tilton Sheldon – finished
    30. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – finished
    31. Blue Moon by Lee Child – finished
    32. A Redbird Christmas by Fanny Flagg – 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 read articles of current interest.
  • Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check

Spiritual Health

  • Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship.
  • I have encouraged Bethany to become an Earth Care Congregation, and I’ll be writing articles for the newsletter and doing Minutes for Mission regularly to help fulfill our requirements for that designation.
  • 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.
  • Our Interfaith discussion group with the Muslims, Jews, Lutherans, and Presbyterians will meet again this month.
  • I post Morning and Evening Prayer on Facebook in Casa – An Experiment in Doing Church On-line on the 23rd of every month.

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.)
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. I took the preacher out to lunch, just to reconnect socially. It was a nice chance to visit with her and catch up on her family
  • 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.
  • Since my younger son and his family moved to central Washington this summer, we’ve been able to see them more often, and we had Thanksgiving at their house.


  • Creative Writing will resume early next year.
  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials.
  • Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. We did a review and training in early November by ZOOM.
  • 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 – 11/29/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. Woke up this morning to find that the temperature was 20 deg. 😳 By noon it had gotten up to 34 deg. When we got back to the motel at 7:00 it was back down to 30 deg. promising to be in the high teens when we go to the train at 4:15 tomorrow morning.

2. Today was Papa’s Birthday. He would have been 108 years old. We used to always have a party for him around Thanksgiving, so that’s my best memory.

This was his birthday party in 2001.

3. I was still pretty full from all the feasting yesterday, so I opted for pho for lunch. I took Rae with me and we both got beef pho, but theirs was fancier. Big Al and Bill had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Erika and Kate braved the discount stores for craft stuff, and fed themselves while they were out.

Bill spent the day on and off trying to get the unworkable lights off of the 9-foot tree that was left in the garage when they bought the house. By mid afternoon he had decided to just string new lights on top of the old ones.

4. We had leftovers for dinner tonight. Kate warmed up the ham and the turkey in the oven, and then everybody put whatever sides they wanted on a plate and zapped it in the microwave. I had garlic and herb Brie with whole grain crackers, turkey thigh meat, ham, wild rice casserole, and pumpkin pie. It sounds like a lot but I was circumspect about the sizes of my portions, so I’m not as uncomfortable this evening as I was yesterday.

5. I’m finishing packing and I’m going to take my shower tonight because we have to get up and leave the motel between 4:15 and 4:30 to get to the train station in time to check our bags before leaving on the 5:35 train to Portland. I’m eternally grateful that Bill will be here to shepherd us to the station and return our rental car for us.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/30/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. Up way before dawn, to catch the 5:35 train. Cold, cold, cold. 25 deg. And still dropping. Bill kindly took us to the train station and will return the rental car for us. Arrived in Portland 20 min early, so we had a 5 hour layover, but the temperature warmed up to 42 deg. It felt positively balmy. Temps at home were 43 deg. when we got here – much nicer than Kennewick/Richland/Pasco.

2. Beautiful weather and vistas along the Columbia River once the sun came up with gorgeous views of Mt. Hood.


3. Since we had so much time to kill in Portland, we treated ourselves to brunch at Fogo de Ciao. They’ve recently added brunch on weekends so we had omelets, waffles and bacon with the Market Table.

4. Final score Oregon State – 10, Oregon – 24 #GoDucks in the final regular game of the season. Next week Oregon plays Utah for the PAC-12 Championship.

5. We arrived back in Tacoma between 5:30 and 6:00 – pretty much on time. We tried to call a taxi and the dispatcher said it would be 45 minutes before anyone could pick us up, so we ordered an Uber and our driver turned up in 5 min. (Also about $10 cheaper than a taxi ride.)

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/28/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. According to Weatherbug, it was 31 deg. At dawn in the Tri-Cities this morning at dawn. With the wind it felt like it was 22 deg. But even with the cold, there was no snow on the ground, even though it was snowing when we got back to the hotel last night. It made me really happy that I didn’t have to go outside until noon or so. It warmed up to 39 in the afternoon, and it’s back to 33 now.

2. Waiting for dinner at Watters Minor’s house. Appetizers of a charcuterie platter and shrimp cocktail.

I’ve already had a half bottle of wine. Central Washington vintage.

3. The kitchen cleanup crew as Erika Watters functions as chef extraordinary.

4. We had turkey, and ham,

Raw cranberry salad

Green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, fried cauliflower, and wild rice.

5. And for dessert we had apple pie and pumpkin pie and (not shown) cheesecake.

There were LOTS of leftovers. I’ll take a little bit of turkey and ham, and some cranberry salad home with me. A wonderful dinner was had by all.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/27/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was  40 deg. at dawn today in Richland. Apparently we are under a strong wind advisory.

2. big Al and I had a good breakfast at the hotel. Nothing special, except that I never get muffins or waffles for breakfast unless we are at a motel/hotel. I’m a sucker for sweets, but I did use sugar-free syrup on my waffle. I’ve got to deliberately get some fiber, I know.

3. Bill picked us up right after breakfast and we went to Enterprise to “show them our driver’s licenses.” Then we took him back to work for several meetings. We are now legal drivers of the rental car, and it’s a Ford Edge. Functionally the same as the Chevy Equinox like Betty and I had to go to Victoria.

4. Al and I took Miss Kate to lunch because when everybody is around we never get a chance to talk to here. I had tomato soup, and Al had a really good Ruben sandwich. Kate had a lemongrass salad and she said it was really good.

5. I finished making my raw cranberry salad and had a chance to sit a minute before time to help with supper.

I’ll unmold it onto a plate tomorrow.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/26/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was 35 deg. at dawn today in Tacoma. It warmed up a little before we left at noon. Right now where I am in southern Washington on the train, my weather app says it’s 42 deg. but it’s nice and toasty in the train.

2. I was able to get the sheets and towels washed and dried before we left. The maids are coming today, so we’ll have a clean house with fresh sheets on the beds when we get home on Saturday.

3. Larry from transportation picked us up a 11:15 and got us to the train station in time for me to check the suitcases through to Pasco so we don’t have to fool with them. I’ve got my backpack that I put all the miscellaneous stuff (electronics, iPads, lunches, meds, etc) in.

4. The Cascades train from Tacoma to Portland was a little late, but that was good because we didn’t have to wait in the Portland station but about an hour. They loaded us on the Empire Builder in plenty of time and we pulled out headed for the Tri-Cities as advertised.

5. We should be in Pasco by 9:00. Bill has already picked up our car for the week, and he will meet us when we get there. We’re staying in a TownePlace Suites that belongs to Marriott, so we’re all checked in and have been since 8:00 am. It’s right on the Columbia River, and not far from Bill’s house.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/25/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was 41 deg. at dawn today. While it got up to 48 deg. early in the afternoon, it was 42 deg. by nightfall. I think it’s turning cold again.

2. I found out this morning that the Gazebo Group had been bumped from our promised meeting location. It was just a misunderstanding on several people’s part (not mine), but we had to relocate. I talked to the COO and he promised it will be straightened out by next week.

2. I took the preacher to lunch today at the Rosewood Café. It’s a lovely little corner neighborhood spot with soup, sandwiches, and salads. I had a turkey and cheese sandwich and a cup of home-made creamy tomato bisque. Wonderful.

I also really enjoyed catching up with her about her life and doings in the church that I’m no longer on the inside for, now that I’m off of Session.

3. I got all the washing done, suitcases packed, and I think Big Al and I are ready to be picked up and taken to the train station tomorrow morning for our trip to Kennewick to spend Thanksgiving with the Watters Minor. I also managed to fit in a last minute trip to the grocery store for snacks for the week before I went to lunch. And I had a good session with my trainer. She did a 10-minute meditation session with me that helped my outlook on life.

5. Headed to Happy Hour with the Gazebo Group in just a few minutes. I feel like I’ve done a week’s worth of work in one day. Thank goodness for my next door neighbor who stepped up to offer her living room at the last minute.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/24/19

Sorry, I accidentally hit publish before I was finished with this post earlier. Ignore the earlier one if you’ll like.

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was 46 deg., much warmer, when I got up this morning. It actually got up to 50 deg. this afternoon. “They” threatened cloudy and showers, but it was really pretty nice.

2. Well, the Ducks lost last night. For whatever reason, they just couldn’t get it together. They have a really bad record playing in Arizona, especially Tucson. I don’t know whether it’s the time zone, or what, but they didn’t look like themselves. Anyway, I’m happy that the angst associated with the potential of a playoff berth is gone, and I can just appreciate that they are PAC-12 North Champions. Now all I have to worry about is the PAC-12 Championship against either Utah or (horrors) USC.

3. Interesting church service this morning. We took a tour through the liturgical year, with scripture, short meditations and hymns from each season.

4. The Cowboys game against the Patriots wasn’t opposite the Seahawks, so I got to watch it. It was a cold, cold rain (I think I saw sleet.) I guess this just wasn’t my week to watch football. The Cowboys lost, but I was happy to be able to see the game.

5. Lunch today was Royal Thai Bistro. I had Singapore Noodles. Really tasty.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/23/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was clear and cold at 36 deg. when I got up this morning. The sun came out for a few minutes in the middle of the afternoon, and the temperature crawled up to 50 deg., the first time it’s been out of the 30s or 40s all week.

2. As a Myers-Briggs ISTJ, I have a hard time in gatherings. It’s not that I’m shy, it’s just that I really dislike small talk. After being told all my childhood “children should be seen and not heard” I really struggle to keep up my end of the conversation. Today, I read a great article on Medium (if you don’t know Medium you should check it out). The writer suggested that you can get a conversation started pretty easily by beginning with a simple 2-word phrase. “I’m curious.”

3. I fixed tuna fish salad for lunch today, and Big Al and I enjoyed sandwiches. This is another lunch that takes me back to my childhood.

4. I went to Starbucks today, hoping for a Venti Skinny Mocha

and a blueberry scone.

My app on my phone keeps telling me that Skinny Mochas aren’t available in that store, so I went inside and talked to the manager. He told me that “Of course, we have skinny mochas,” and he tried to order it with my phone, and still no joy. Anyway, after we had struck out trying to reboot the app, and checking that I had the correct location chosen, etc., etc., etc., I still couldn’t use it to order. So he ordered it for me in the regular manner, and then comped the whole order for me. 

5. I’m kind of wasting time waiting for the Oregon (9-1) v Arizona State (5-5) game to start. I hope the Ducks do well. Once the game starts, I won’t be adding anything to this little post. Tune in tomorrow to find out what the outcome was.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 11/22/19

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them that we call them everyday things. – Hans Christian Anderson

1. It was cold at 35 deg. when I got up this morning, with a dense fog. It’s really the end of November, I guess. The sun finally came out about 2:30 and it made it up to 42 deg. by nightfall.

2. Big Al got LOTS of fresh asparagus when he was at the grocery store the other day, so we had that for lunch with pork chops and cinnamon applesauce, and little red potatoes. Good dinner.

3. I had a mostly walking workout with my personal trainer. I have almost 12,000 steps already, and should be able to walk around the living room a couple of times to reach my goal.

4. When I came home from the Wellness Center this afternoon, there was a brand new American flag, all nicely folded, sitting on the bench on my front porch. I still don’t know where it came from, but our flag is getting to be a little faded. It’s not raggedy or anything but it’s not bright. Anyway, we appreciate the new flag.

5. Unfortunately we’ve lost our Barista in the Bistro (yes, the same one who just started yesterday.) I don’t know what happened, but there was a sign that said we could order sandwiches and soup from the main kitchen. I guess I’ll just have to make a Starbucks run for my mocha and scone from now on, until they hire somebody. 😉

How about you? What made you happy today?