30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/8/17

For the month of November, I’m going to try to include gratitude in all my posts (and post every day.)

 

Today, I’m grateful to be waking up in a world that is not eternally mired in distrust, hatred, bigotry, violence, racism, misogyny, sexism, or provincialism. All those things are still there in our society, but they’re no longer in the ascendency. I have real hope once again after a full year of stomach-churning disgust and terror. The election results last night in a small way did much to rout the forces of evil. Thanks be to God.

We have a new mayor in Tacoma – a woman of color. A transgendered woman was elected to the legislature in Virginia, defeating the self-proclaimed “homophobe-in-chief.” A progressive Democrat was elected to the Washington State Senate, giving progressives a solid block of three governorships, three senates, and three houses of representatives on the West Coast. Maybe we can begin to turn the tide against the forces who would destroy our beautiful planet with backwards climate thinking, and shrinking of our public lands and monuments.

The battle for the light is not done. We must remain vigilant. We must continue to work for the marginalized of our society. But there once again is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/7/17

For the month of November, I’m going to try to include gratitude in all my posts (and post every day.)

Today I’m thankful for my feathered friends that brighten my day as they flutter and flit past my window. Juncos, chickadees, robins, Stellar jays, finches, sparrows, and flickers. They dine at the bird feeder, and bathe in the bird bath (when it’s warm enough). They are a constant joy to me.

 

 

 

At the Gate of the Year

(Many thanks to MaryAnn McKibben Dana for her great workbook that gave me an opportunity to review 2015 and to begin to set intentions for 2016. You can get yours here.)

Everybody seems to be getting into the act of encouraging you to review, release, and resolve. Even The Container Store added their two cents worth.*

Pastor Sarah handed out Star Words in church on Sunday. I got “Listening” and I’m still not sure what to do with it. It found me, so I guess I need to pay attention to it.

In any case, here is my year-end/new year post for 2015/2016.

REVIEW

Major Highlights

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Our family came to see us and help celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. It was wonderful to get to know Ray’s wife and her kid better, and to reconnect with Bill, his wife, and the grandkids.

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We had a wonderful trip across Canada on Via Rail,

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Then cruised from Quebec to New York City on board the Queen Mary II,

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And rode Amtrak back home through the central Rockies in the snow (in October!).

Physical Health

I (for the most part) kept off the weight I lost in 2014. I didn’t pay any attention to my diet while we were travelling and while the kids were here, so I guess I can count it as a win that I am entering 2016 about the same weight as I entered 2015. I’m still able to completely control my diabetes with exercise and diet, and I no longer have to take statins for high cholesterol, so that’s a big win for the year. I am exercising regularly by walking, and sessions on the NuStep (although I need to put strength workouts back into my routine). I have also kept up with Tai Chi a couple of times a week.

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A group of us from FTJ walked along the sound at Owen Beach every week on a Friday. It made a nice outing for many of those who wouldn’t otherwise get away from our hilltop.

Mental Health

My faith in God remains strong, and I’m in a very supportive, loving, affirming church environment. I can’t begin to say how much those people mean to me.

I have had a mindfulness practice (I call it Centering Prayer) for quite a while, and this fall I was introduced to Headspace. It is a guided meditation that is helping me be more accepting, generous, loving, and calm. I can highly recommend it.

Social

I have burrowed further into the community where I live. I walk weekly with a group from the church (and then we drink coffee afterwards), so friendships are deepening there. We also have an informal group from Franke Tobey Jones who meet for Happy Hour once a week. During the summer we met at the Gazebo next to our house, but since it got too cold to sit outside comfortably in the evenings, they are coming to my living room.

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Big Al and I gave each other a fire pit for Christmas, and have installed it in the Gazebo. We are trying to get the powers that be here at FTJ to enclose the Gazebo with removable Plexiglas panels or something so it is usable year round.

Sadly, several of our friends here passed away this fall. Other people moved on in the community, leaving their duplexes for an easier life in one of the apartments. One of our particular friends also became so disoriented her husband had to relocate her to the memory care unit. All of this is only to be expected in a retirement community, but that doesn’t mean the holes in our hearts are any smaller.

Gardening

I had a vegetable garden this year,

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and I grew green beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers. I tried to grow black-eyed peas, but didn’t have any luck there. I also had two artichoke plants that didn’t get around to bearing artichokes until late in the fall. I hope they will be a little earlier this year, as several never matured because the weather got too cold and wet. I had such a bumper crop that I was able to donate over 100 lbs of food to the food bank. Al and I ate all the tomatoes, squash, and green beans we wanted.

Political Commentary

The horrible evidence of continued racism weighed on my heart this year. I took an on-line discussion class for 6 weeks this summer called Hard Conversations: Racism. It was convicting, and difficult. Another woman from Bethany and I also facilitated an in-person group from the church who read really current blogs about racism, and then discussed them. We also read and discussed “Between the World and Me” by Ta’Nehisi Coates. The problem is really big, and I often despair of finding a solution, particularly with Trump spewing his awful rhetoric nightly on the news.

I rejoice in the legal acceptance of those in the LGBTQ community. Both in the PC(USA) and in the country, they are finally being given the same rights to happiness (and difficulties) in marriage as any one else. I fear for some of the rights and freedoms we have all been given if the election in 2016 goes the wrong way.

RELEASE

I’m bidding a fond farewell to 2015. It was a wonderful year for the most part. I had the joy of anticipation of travel and hosting our family. I saw new things, got to know the people in our lives better, lost some friends to death or illness, and grew in appreciation of this wonderful area of the country between the mountains and the sea. I grew in confidence in leadership in church, increased my exercise, and enjoyed myself immensely.

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RESOLVE (or better yet – INTENTIONS)

  1. Finish losing the weight I need to by eating right (lo-cal, lo-carb, wine only on special occasions) and strength training 3 days a week.
  2. Walk regularly, either alone or with a group, at least 4 days a week for at least 5 miles.
  3. Grow enough vegetables to enjoy and to help supply the food bank.
  4. Travel to see Bill and his family (for Ian’s graduation from High School), but don’t focus solely on that. Take several short trips as well.
    1. To Pacific Beach
    2. To Portland
    3. To Spokane to look for genealogical information
    4. To the San Juan Islands (because we’ve wanted to return and keep saying “We can do that anytime”, but we never do.)
    5. To Victoria, BC
  5. Keep up with Headspace and Tai Chi.

Happy New Year to all of you, gentle readers. I’m will try to keep up better with this blog, because I love all of you!

*NOTE: NOT a paid advertisement, although I do like a lot of the products from The Container Store.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness – 11/26/15

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Through the years we’ve been married we’ve had Thanksgiving dinner with friends, family, and just us. We’ve also eaten at our house, at other people’s houses, and in restaurants. In all cases, we’ve been truly thankful for everything we had, and for the wonderful life we’ve led. We have been blessed.

Gardening

I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to update y’all on my current fixation.

I got the landscaping guys to dig me a garden so I could put something pretty to look at across from the windows where Al and I sit all day at our computers. They did, and I’m working on it.

I promise to take some (more) pictures tomorrow and show them to you.

FTJ had a trip to a really big greenhouse/nursery planned for today, but not enough people signed up for it (what’s up with that? – really? – It’s a beautiful 73 deg today, and the sky is a wonderful blue).

(Oh, by the way, the mountain is OUT in all its glory.)

Anyway, Big Al and I drove over to the greenhouse since I couldn’t go on the bus and I spent enough to cover half the national debt, but everything is going to be SOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL.

More tomorrow – with pictures.