August – 2018

Persevere is my Word for this Year.

Looking at where I am in my life, I really don’t want to take on anything new, but I do need to deepen my knowledge and commitment to the things I am doing.

  • Politically – I’m going to persist in the resistance.
    • People Power – I continue to serve on the Texting Team for People Power. That means most days I send between 200 and 600 texts to people who have signed up with the ACLU People Power. Some of the texts are invitations to training for organizing. Some are invitations to organizational meetings, and some are invitations to write, phone, or email political representatives. They are all sent individually and answered individually (thank goodness, I have canned answers available – but we individualize everything as much as possible.) Remember, the ACLU is political but non-partisan. I am one of the texting leads on this team. There are four of us who try to take some of the burden off of the folks to do the real work of getting everything set up. We also TRY to deal creatively and nicely with other volunteers who may not be very understanding or kind.
    • Wall of Us – I continue to try to accomplish the four actions requested by Wall of Us every week. For instance, this week we are asked to Bet on Beto O’Rourke in Texas!Demand an End to Prison SlaveryProtect the Special Counsel, and No Supreme Court Picks for Criminals.
    • I have a recurring donation to the Poor People’s Campaign.
    • Initiative 1631. got enough signatures to get it on the ballot.
  • Religiously – I’m going to really work at being Moderator of Olympia Presbytery.
    • We didn’t have many Presbytery meetings in August – Leadership Council met early in the month, the Trustees and Finance Committee met, but there were no New Worshipping Communities Task Force meetings.
    • Interfaith community – I continue to meet with the Interfaith Ladies once a month.
    • I was elected by the 223rd General Assembly to serve on the Nominating Committee for the Presbyterian Church (USA) class of 2024. I still need to be trained, and am planning to go to Chicago in September for the training.
  • Creatively – I’m going to try to get down to working on my family history/memoir.
    • Fill in gaps on Ancestry.com – Still working on my genealogy (I don’t think it’s ever finished).
    • I finished the poetry course, and the instructor has agreed to help by editing some of my things. I’m looking into doing some self-publishing because I know I’ll never get anyone to publish a book of poetry.
    • Keep up with my knitting – I’ve slowed down on my knitting. The warmer weather made it less interesting.
  • Personally – I’m going to keep up walking, and try to add some resistance training.10,000 steps a day –
    • I’m keeping up with this, but not being obsessive about it.
    • 2-3 sessions of weight training a week – I’m doing my strength training 2-3 times a week. I’ve been at it for a couple of months now, and I’m beginning to see a difference in the flab.
  • Socially – I’m going to tend my current relationships.
    • Gazebo Group – The Gazebo Group continues to thrive (particularly with the younger (less than 80 years old) members of the community).
    • Maintain congregational ties – I attend weekly Bible study and try to attend whatever extra worship services there may be.

August was affected by weather and a visit from my son and granddaughter. The first couple of weeks were beastly hot (over 85 degrees every day and only down into the 60s at night). Then, the wind shifted to the north and brought two weeks of smoke from the wildfires in BC, followed by smoke from the fires in Eastern Washington, relieved by smoke from the fires in Oregon and Northern California. This last week has been blessedly cool, and smoke-free.

While the family was here, we celebrated my birthday, and spent three days in Portland, OR, and a day in Victoria, BC. We rode the Amtrak Cascade to Portland and back.

When we went to Victoria, we took the BlackBall Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria – 90 minutes across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. While we were there we walked along the waterfront to the Fisherman’s Village, rode the “Bathtub Toy” boats around the harbor, walked through the Empress Hotel, and watched street life during a bicycle race.

It sure was nice to see family.

I would really appreciate it if you, gentle readers, would remind me of these intentions when you see me fluttering off after the latest cause du jour.

2017 Intentions – August

As I said here, I dumped my original Star Word in favor of COURAGE.

These are my intentions for the year. Let’s see how I’m doing showing COURAGE in each case.

I will resist hatred, prejudice, and evil, and speak out against all of them when I see/hear them.

  • I will resist evil, hatred, and reactionary government by signing up with Wall of Us. Each week you will receive a list of four actions you can take by writing to your elected representatives to ensure your values are being considered by the government. Some are local, some are state, and some are national. Often you will receive suggestions of products to boycott or hatred to call out.
    • I’ve consistently made phone calls – either in support of my representatives positions or to encourage them to speak out. I have both US Senators’ and my Representative’s number saved in my phone and I call, at least, weekly.
    • I’m still calling. Right now, I’m focusing on LGBT rights, global warming, and immigrant rights.
  • I’ve signed up with People Power – a grassroots organizing effort backed by the ACLU.
    • I’m on the local leadership team for People Power in Tacoma
    • I continue to text almost daily for People Power. We’re focusing on the possible repeal of DACA.
  • I have attended a City Council meeting where they were discussing eliminating fossil fuels from our port.
  • I attended a Washington Won’t Discriminate training, and will be working to bring Trans-101 training to groups I can influence. I’m trying to get the training here at Franke Tobey Jones.
  • I supported progressive candidates in the local city council elections.

I will exercise regularly and eat good, healthy food.

  • I will try to get 10,000 steps a day – so far, so good, for the most part.
  • I will log my food every day (and no cheating)  – I have lost the weight I put on since the first of last May. That includes the weight I gained while traveling to see the Alabama Watters and at General Assembly. Next milestone will be when I get back to where I was when we returned from our big 50th Anniversary trip in November 2015.
  • I will cook most of the food we eat from scratch, and will be careful of extra salt and additives in any packaged foods – check, check, and check.
    • I’ve also planted green beans and squash. The green beans are just about finished.
    • I have planted the tomato and pepper plants. The peppers are in decent shape after being chewed by slugs. The tomatoes did not well. I’m about ready to pull them up.
    •  I will continue to get Blue Apron meals whenever my schedule allows me time to prepare them. If you would like to try them, send me your email in a comment, and I’ll send you three free meals (I have at least 5 sets available).

I will make personal contact with at least half of the churches in the Presbytery.

  • I will meet the pastors for coffee and a “get-to-know-you” time. So far I’ve only connected at Presbytery meetings and events.
  • I continue to attend Leadership Council, and Administrative Council meetings, Trustee meetings, Taskforce for New Worshipping Communities meetings, and meetings of the Granting Team for distributing mission money to various churches. I’ve finished with my temporary assignment as Treasurer. Bernie is healing and back to full participation.
  • I will try to meet with the sessions and invite more participation by Ruling Elders in Presbytery meetings and commissions and committees.
  • I’m working on getting some money from the Leadership Council to subscribe to Mission Insight for the Taskforce on New Worshipping Communities. We need demographic data to explore potential new church plants in underserved areas of the Presbytery. There’s a meeting this Wednesday of the Taskforce. Hopefully out request can go forward from there.

I will work for more racial diversity and harmony in my city and church.

  • I will encourage a dialogue between Bethany and at least one historically Black congregation – no opportunities yet, but I’m working on it.
  • Our Interfaith Dialogue will resume September 26th.

I will pray for Big Al as he faces decreased mobility and increasing pain from his back problems. I will try to remember that he is hurting, and not push him to do more than he is comfortable doing – I’m doing pretty well with this one, but it means I often go places and do things that leave him at home alone.

  • My sister came to visit for a week, and we drove around the Olympic Peninsula, up Mt. Rainier, and spent 3 days in Portland for the Great American Eclipse. I didn’t realize how much I missed family until she was here, and then gone again. There’s some about having someone around who knows and understands all the ‘old family sayings”, and remembers the same places and things you do from your childhood. I’m here because I want to be, BUT, that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the people from past lives.

2017 Intentions – July

As I said here, I dumped my original Star Word in favor of COURAGE.

These are my intentions for the year. Let’s see how I’m doing showing COURAGE in each case.

I will resist hatred, prejudice, and evil, and speak out against all of them when I see/hear them.

  • I will resist evil, hatred, and reactionary government by signing up with Wall of Us. Each week you will receive a list of four actions you can take by writing to your elected representatives to ensure your values are being considered by the government. Some are local, some are state, and some are national. Often you will receive suggestions of products to boycott or hatred to call out.
    • I’ve consistently made phone calls – either in support of my representatives positions or to encourage them to speak out. I have both US Senators’ and my Representative’s number saved in my phone and I call, at least, weekly.
    • I’m still calling. Right now, I’m focusing on LGBT rights, global warming, and immigrant rights.
  • I’ve signed up with People Power – a grassroots organizing effort backed by the ACLU.
    • I’m on the local leadership team for People Power in Tacoma
    • I continue to text almost daily for People Power. I think partially because of our efforts the draconian push by the Congress to repeal Obamacare was defeated.
  • I have attended a City Council meeting where they were discussing eliminating fossil fuels from our port.
  • I attended a Washington Won’t Discriminate training, and will be working to bring Trans-101 training to groups I can influence. We were able to keep the “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people off the ballot.
  • I supported progressive candidates in the local city council elections.

I will exercise regularly and eat good, healthy food.

  • I will try to get 10,000 steps a day – so far, so good, for the most part.
  • I will log my food every day (and no cheating)  – I have lost the weight I put on since the first of last May. That includes the weight I gained while traveling to see the Alabama Watters and at General Assembly. Next milestone will be when I get back to where I was when we returned from our big 50th Anniversary trip in November 2015.
  • I will cook most of the food we eat from scratch, and will be careful of extra salt and additives in any packaged foods – check, check, and check.
    • I’ve also planted green beans and squash. The squash isn’t doing very well, but I’m starting to harvest the green beans.
    • I have planted the tomato and pepper plants. The peppers are in decent shape after being chewed by slugs. The tomatoes are not doing well. It was too cold and wet early, and now they aren’t getting enough water, even though I turn the hose on daily.
    •  I will continue to get Blue Apron meals whenever my schedule allows me time to prepare them. If you would like to try them, send me your email in a comment, and I’ll send you three free meals (I have at least 5 sets available).

I will make personal contact with at least half of the churches in the Presbytery.

  • I will meet the pastors for coffee and a “get-to-know-you” time. So far I’ve only connected at Presbytery meetings and events.
  • I continue to attend Leadership Council, and Administrative Council meetings, Trustee meetings, Taskforce for New Worshipping Communities meetings, and meetings of the Granting Team for distributing mission money to various churches. I’m also starting a temporary assignment at Treasurer while the fellow who has that job recovers from surgery.
  • I will try to meet with the sessions and invite more participation by Ruling Elders in Presbytery meetings and commissions and committees.
  • I’m working on getting some money from the Leadership Council to subscribe to Mission Insight for the Taskforce on New Worshipping Communities. We need demographic data to explore potential new church plants in underserved areas of the Presbytery.

I will work for more racial diversity and harmony in my city and church.

  • I will encourage a dialogue between Bethany and at least one historically Black congregation – no opportunities yet, but I’m working on it.
  • Our Interfaith Dialogue has continued through May. I have attended all four sessions, one at Bethany Presbyterian Church, one at Temple Beth-El, one at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and one hosted by the Mosque at the Library. We have studied how each religion thinks about Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohamed. In July we will met with all the other faith communities for a women’s tea.
  • I’m serving on the steering committee for the next Interfaith Women’s Conference sponsored by Associated Ministries.

I will pray for Big Al as he faces decreased mobility and increasing pain from his back problems. I will try to remember that he is hurting, and not push him to do more than he is comfortable doing – I’m doing pretty well with this one, but it means I often go places and do things that leave him at home alone.

2017 Intentions – June

As I said here, I dumped my original Star Word in favor of COURAGE.

These are my intentions for the year. Let’s see how I’m doing showing COURAGE in each case.

I will resist hatred, prejudice, and evil, and speak out against all of them when I see/hear them.

  • I will resist evil, hatred, and reactionary government by signing up with Wall of Us. Each week you will receive a list of four actions you can take by writing to your elected representatives to ensure your values are being considered by the government. Some are local, some are state, and some are national. Often you will receive suggestions of products to boycott or hatred to call out.
    • I’ve consistently made phone calls – either in support of my representatives positions or to encourage them to speak out. I have both US Senators’ and my Representative’s number saved in my phone and I call, at least, weekly.
    • I’m still calling. Right now, I’m focusing on LGBT rights, global warming, and immigrant rights.
  • I’ve signed up with People Power – a grassroots organizing effort backed by the ACLU.
    • I’m on the local leadership team for People Power in Tacoma
    • I have attended a City Council meeting where they were discussing eliminating fossil fuels from our port.
    • I’ve added my neighborhood council meeting to my calendar and will try to attend.
    • I attended a Washington Won’t Discriminate training, and will be working to bring Trans-101 training to groups I can influence. I also signed this letter as Vice-Moderator of Olympia Presbytery.
  • I visited Gog-li-hi-te Wetlands at the Port of Tacoma and learned about reclamation efforts in the area. Birds and wildlife are thriving there. This is the site of an old town dump in the tide flats and it is amazing! That area was reclaimed only 5 years ago.

I will exercise regularly and eat good, healthy food.

  • I will try to get 10,000 steps a day – so far, so good, for the most part.
  • I will log my food every day (and no cheating)  – I have lost the weight I put on since the first of last May. That includes the weight I gained while traveling to see the Alabama Watters and at General Assembly. Next milestone will be when I get back to where I was when we returned from our big 50th Anniversary trip in November 2015.
  • I will cook most of the food we eat from scratch, and will be careful of extra salt and additives in any packaged foods – check, check, and check.
    • I’ve also planted green beans and squash, and the green beans have sprouted.
    • I have planted the tomato and pepper plants. (That’s the first bloom on the tomatoes).
    •  I will continue to get Blue Apron meals whenever my schedule allows me time to prepare them. If you would like to try them, send me your email in a comment, and I’ll send you three free meals (I have at least 5 sets available).

I will make personal contact with at least half of the churches in the Presbytery.

  • I will meet the pastors for coffee and a “get-to-know-you” time. So far I’ve only connected at Presbytery meetings and events.
  • I continue to attend Leadership Council, and Administrative Council meetings, Trustee meetings, Taskforce for New Worshipping Communities meetings, and meetings of the Granting Team for distributing mission money to various churches.
  • I will try to meet with the sessions and invite more participation by Ruling Elders in Presbytery meetings and commissions and committees.
  • I’m working on getting some money from the Leadership Council to subscribe to Mission Insight for the Taskforce on New Worshipping Communities. We need demographic data to explore potential new church plants in underserved areas of the Presbytery.

I will work for more racial diversity and harmony in my city and church.

  • I will encourage a dialogue between Bethany and at least one historically Black congregation – no opportunities yet, but I’m working on it.
  • Our Interfaith Dialogue has continued through May. I have attended all four sessions, one at Bethany Presbyterian Church, one at Temple Beth-El, one at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and one hosted by the Mosque at the Library. We have studied how each religion thinks about Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohamed. In July we will meet with all the other faith communities for a picnic and also for a women’s tea.
  • I’m serving on the steering committee for the next Interfaith Women’s Conference sponsored by Associated Ministries.

I will pray for Big Al as he faces decreased mobility and increasing pain from his back problems. I will try to remember that he is hurting, and not push him to do more than he is comfortable doing – I’m doing pretty well with this one, but it means I often go places and do things that leave him at home alone.

  • Al felt well enough to visit the Tall Ships Festival with me and we enjoyed a day in the sun at the waterway in Tacoma.
  • We also got to see some of the Museum of Glass that is located right by the harbor.

Still Possible

(Many thanks to MaryAnn McKibben Dana for her great workbook that gave me an opportunity to review 2016 and to begin to set intentions for 2017. You can get yours here.)

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

REVIEW

Major Highlights

This life-long Presbyterian got to attend General Assembly for the first time. I didn’t go as a commissioner, but I did go as a volunteer and got to meet many of my on-line friends in person for the first time. I also got to renew friendships with folks I met years ago. The open atmosphere, and loving acceptance of racial, sexual, and gender differences was healing to my jaundiced heart.

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Co-Moderators of the General Assembly Jan Edmiston and Denise Anderson

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Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Also, this fall I was elected Vice-Moderator of Olympia Presbytery and installed in the November meeting to take office January 1, 2017

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Major Lowlights

There were two deaths in my generation in my family and two deaths of women who were good friends of mine here at Franke Tobey Jones. There are big holes in my heart and in my life with these folks gone.

The outcome of the election was also a major lowlight. However, from that came a resolve for me to be kinder, and to resist all forms of persecution. I finally decided that I was tired of being “tolerant” of those people who spew hate. I am resolved to call out bigotry wherever I find it. That’s what my safety-pin says to the world.

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Physical Health

I kept off part of the weight I lost in 2014. Two trips in the spring, and three trips in the fall found 15 additional pounds on me (I have no control over what is served to me on Amtrak and I have no willpower when everybody else is having desert). It’s also almost impossible to exercise when you’re traveling. I’m still able to completely control my diabetes with exercise and diet, and I no longer have to take statins for high cholesterol. I try to exercise regularly by walking, and sessions on the NuStep (although I need to put strength workouts back into my routine). Tai Chi has fallen by the wayside.

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 attend Bible Study at the church almost every week, and it has deepened my understanding and faith.

The affirmation of being elected to the office of Vice-Moderator of Presbytery was a major boost to my ego and mental health.

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 warm weather we met at the Gazebo next to our house, but when it’s too cold to sit outside comfortably in the evenings, we meet in my living room.

Sadly, we lost more of our friends here this year. Two of my best friends (part of the Gazebo Group) died suddenly, but not unexpectedly. We have been able to welcome a couple of newcomers into our circle. It’s all part of the rhythm of life – folks leave and new people arrive.

My cousin, who is just a year older than I am, lost her husband suddenly this spring, and my brother-in-law died suddenly right before Thanksgiving. When death comes to my generation, it reminds me once again of the impermanence of life.

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The good thing about funerals is that the family gets together. Here are all three of my siblings. We haven’t all been together since my son’s wedding in 2013.

Gardening

I had a vegetable garden again this year,

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and I grew green beans, tomatoes, squash, and peppers. I also had an artichoke plant that made up for lost time this year. I got 25 artichokes of off the one plant. I had such a bumper crop of squash and tomatoes 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.

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Political Commentary

I have not been able to write anything about my reaction to the election. I was struck dumb for almost a month over the fact that hatred, misogyny, racism, jingoism, sexism, paternalism and hetero-normity won out. I have decided I will do what I can to resist this scourge of evil. I remind myself that rarely is a society changed from the top down, rather big change comes slowly and through small people doing kind things. Eventually, the selfishness will founder in the face of goodness. I’m checking my news sources and trying, in my small part, to keep to the truth, and to believe that goodness will prevail.

RELEASE

I’m bidding a farewell to 2016. It was a rough year in some respects. Unfortunately many of the good things were overshadowed by death, and loss. The major thing I’m taking with me into 2017 is a new confidence in myself and a new resolve to not let hatred win.

Happy New Year to all of you, gentle readers. Tomorrow I’ll bring you my “intentions”!

 

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.

Honesty

My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in July and August. (I was recently reminded that I haven’t done much posting AT ALL this summer.)

My garden is still taking up a fair amount of my time. I’ve donated almost 40 pounds of cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes to the Fish Food Bank. That’s in addition to everything Al and I could eat. We’re eating a couple of tomatoes a day, and plenty of squash. I also supplied us with several weeks of green beans. The second round of beans that I planted around the middle of July are just about ready to be picked, so we’ll have those to enjoy. I got enough Serrano peppers to make pepper sauce, and a few small jalapenos to make pico de gallo.

It has turned cool this week (after temperatures consistently in the upper 70s to mid-80s). It’s also started to rain some (we had NONE – ZERO -ZIPPO since early June). The woods and fields were on fire all over Washington but the rains since the middle of August have helped. Folks here welcomed the early warm, sunny weather, but now they realize that we really need the rain that usually falls.

I’m still walking every Thursday morning with the group from the church, and I’m keeping up with my 12,000 steps a day as counted by my trusty Fitbit. I also continue to faithfully log my food on MyFitnessPal, although the scale isn’t moving. (sigh)

The racial unrest, typified by Ferguson, Baltimore, Sandra Bland, McKinney, and Charleston, finally got under my skin enough that I began to be more pro-active about seeking change. Another woman and I from the church curated and led a discussion on race for four Sundays in July and August. We talked about systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and racial appropriation. Then in August, I “attended” an online course entitled “Hard Conversations on Race.” I feel like I sharpened my antenna for veiled racial slurs, and I’m becoming more vocal about challenging them when I hear them. It probably isn’t endearing me to my associates, but I really don’t care if racists don’t “like” me. At least, I finally feel like I’m being HONEST!

In August, my team at Bethany hosted a neighborhood night out and the annual Church Picnic. At the picnic we packed school bags for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Church World Service. (Sorry, I was busy enough that I didn’t get any pictures taken, but you can see photos from the last couple of years here, and here and here.)

Big Al and I are getting excited for our big 50th Anniversary trip. We leave Tacoma on Sunday, September 27th and return on Saturday, October 24th. We’ll take Amtrak from here to Vancouver, BC, where we’ll board VIA (Canada Rail) and ride to Toronto. We’ll spend the night in Toronto, and then take the train to Montreal where we will spend two nights before training to Quebec City and boarding the Queen Mary II for a cruise up the St. Lawrence, around Newfoundland and down to Boston, Newport, RI, and New York City, looking at the autumn leaves (hopefully). We’ll spend a couple of days in New York, sightseeing and visiting Harriet and Robert, before we board the Jersey Central RR for Philadelphia and a quick visit with Marianne. We’ll take the train from there to Washington DC where we’ll spend three nights sightseeing (we’ve both been to DC as teenagers, but we haven’t been back). Then we board Amtrak on the Capital Limited for Chicago where we’ll have a one-night layover before catching the California Zephyr, bound for Sacramento. We’ve traveled the Empire Builder so many times we know the route by heart, so we decided to see the central Rockies this time. In Sacrament we’ll catch the Coast Starlight and home to Tacoma.

I’ll be posting pictures from the trip on Facebook, and, possibly Stellar, but I’ll be sure to put a link here to those posts.

Don’t be surprised if I don’t do an HONESTY update the first part of October, but I’ll promise to do one in November. See you then.