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.



My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in June.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods Golf Club, in Port Orchard. Good food, and a lovely setting overlooking the 9th tee.


The main thing that happened in June was our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Both of the boys and their families came and we really enjoyed having them here.


Ray and his wife (and step-daughter who is being camera-shy).


There she is after all – Katie Meers.








and Kate Watters.

While they were here they went to Seattle and saw the sights. Big Al and I stayed home (why get on I-5 if you don’t have to?)

We also had a picnic at Owen Beach on Puget Sound and Bill and Kate tried their hand at kayaking.


We went up Mt Rainier to Paradise…DSCN1022

…rode around the Olympic Peninsula where Bill spent most of his time looking for Big Foot. We stopped in Port Angeles for lunch and looked across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Canada…


…saw Crescent Lake…DSCN1032

…drove through Forks (no vampires visible). Then we stopped at Ruby Beach on the Pacific Ocean.


They all left on the 13th and 15th, and Big Al and I have had a fairly quiet rest of the month.

My garden is still taking up a fair amount of my time. The squash are taking over the joint. I had green beans for lunch today that I grew, the peppers are making nice little peppers, and the onions are getting pretty big. I’m pretty sure I have some cucumbers under the big tepee, but I can’t get to them for the tomato plants. I have more little green tomatoes than I can count.


The spring onions were great!

I’m still walking every Thursday morning with the group from the church. (Actually, I’m still walking every day – although the weather is pretty hot – even for someone from Dallas – over 90 deg. today.)

We went to see a baseball game at the local AAA ballpark – the Tacoma Rainiers played the Reno Aces. We lost unfortunately, but it was a good game.


I’m going to see the Seattle Mariners next week!

I won the virtual race to the border by several days (remember, several of us were counting steps to see who could walk 150 miles first – the distance from Tacoma to the Peace Arch on the Canadian Border.)

I’ve gotten a FitBit for Big Al, and he is still walking a little. Maybe he will reach his goal of walking a mile. He could do it if he would try. His physical therapist released him today, so we’ll see if he will keep it up.

Until next month’s report on HONESTY you can follow along with my daily pictures.





My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in May.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to the Tanglewood Grill in Gig Harbor.


I think I told you last month couple of months that the church is doing a capital campaign to raise money to bring the facilities up to ADA standards and to do some needed repairs on our 80-year-old building. We have commitments for just shy of $300,000 to meet our goal. That’s a pretty big goal for a little church of less than 100 members, but we are very healthy, if aging, and are committed to living out our faith with our pocketbooks.

The new activities director at FTJ took us to Watson’s Nursery and I was able to get some lovely red and white columbine that are going a long way to minimizing the dying daffodils (you have to let them die down if you expect to get blooms next year).


I also got two more foxglove, since the ones I got last year look so pretty (and the deer really don’t eat them).


They finally had a Joe Pye Weed (it doesn’t look like much now, but it will spread and cover the whole corner by the steps to the porch.) It smells divine when it’s in bloom.


Finally, I started dividing the ground cover that is in the bed at the base of the porch. I had the yard men dig out the old stuff that was in half of the bed, and I’m getting this to “expand”. The runners I transplanted have taken root beautifully and are beginning to put out new runners of their own.


I’ve started walking every Thursday morning with a group of folks from Bethany. We walk on the waterfront for about half an hour and then we drink coffee at a new coffee shop in the new construction.


Two Town is mostly a bar, but they have decent coffee, tea, and pastries in the morning and we are the only ones there.

FTJ has begun taking the bus down to Owen Beach a couple of Friday afternoons a month so a group of us can walk on the paved path and look at the sound.


A group from FTJ went to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.


We also had a talk by a biologist who studied the wild life and repopulation of Mt. Saint Helen’s after the eruption in 1981. You can see pictures here.

I have a little raised garden plot in the FTJ garden that has been taking up a fair amount of my time. I am growing green beans, crowder peas, tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, Serrano and jalapeno peppers, and onions (if they ever do anything). I gave up on the purple hulls, and put Walla-Walla onions in their place. I also got two artichoke plants to try out.


The squash and cucumbers are blooming and setting fruit, and this weekend, I spotted a couple of blooms on the tomatoes. The green bean plants are getting enormous, and the black-eyed peas have started trying to climb. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the whole garden recently.

The Wellness Center had a “healthy” potluck lunch on Senior Fitness Day, Wednesday, May 27. My team won first place in the Fitness Jeopardy game.

Fitness Jeopardy Champs

I remembered my one word, HONESTY, when we were eating lunch in one of the dining rooms here. (It was Memorial Day and they were having barbecued ribs.) Anyway, one of the old men at the table was blathering on and on about how awful Obama Care was, and how awful Obama was, and I finally stopped him and “tactfully” told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about. He tried to keep on, but I finally said, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” He kept on, and kept on, and I finally said “I said, I don’t want to talk about it with you. I’m obviously not going to change your mind, and you FOR SURE aren’t going to change mine,” and we got up and walked out on him, sputtering.

A group here at FTJ are doing a virtual walk to the Canadian border (almost exactly 150 miles). We’re keeping track with FitBits or other GPS devices. I’m in the lead with about 60 miles since the 27th of May. I’ve gotten a FitBit for Big Al, and his physical therapist is making him walk. His goal is to be able to walk a mile. I told him he would have to be able to do that if he expected to have a good time on our trip/cruise this fall.

Until next month’s report on HONESTY you can follow along with my daily pictures.





My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in April.

April started off with a bang in Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter. Very inspirational and spiritually uplifting. We had a Maundy Thursday Communion service in the evening, Friday we joined with the Episcopalians for a Tenebrae service, Saturday we held a prayer vigil at Bethany, and then Easter Sunday started with a Sunrise Service, a potluck brunch and then Worship. By that time I was ready to give church a rest for a while.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to Marzano, an Italian restaurant in Parkland, just a little southeast of Tacoma.


Very tasty, and a little more out of the way, so we hadn’t ever been there before.

The week after Easter, Franke Tobey Jones took a bunch of us to the Tulip Festival in Skagit County, WA. You can read all about it here.


I’m in a better place emotionally and mentally than I was when I wrote this post. Time and prayer are doing their work, both on me and on the situations that brought me to my knees last Tuesday.

FTJ hosted a dinner party for all the independent residents in the middle of the month. It happened to be on Barbershop Quartet Day (who knew there even was such a thing), and we had a really good Barbershop Quartet to entertain us.

Barbershop Quartet

I have a little raised garden plot in the FTJ garden that has been taking up a fair amount of my time. I am growing green beans, crowder peas, tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, Serrano and jalapeno peppers, and onions (if they ever do anything). I also planted purple hull peas but they don’t seem to be sprouting.


This picture is before I moved the plants out of the greenhouse. The black-eyed peas think they are climbing on the tepee, and the beans are at the back of the plot.

Beans are up!

These are the beans just beginning to leaf out.


And here is what the garden looks like today with the plants from the greenhouse in the ground. The cucumbers will run on the big tepee with the peas and the squash should run on the little tepee.

I’ve got flowers in baskets on the back porch and in planters. The daffodils are finished and I’m trying to decide what to put in that bed. There’s a trip to the greenhouse in my future, I think.




I think I told you last month that the church is doing a capital campaign to raise money to bring the facilities up to ADA standards and to do some needed repairs on our 80-year-old building. Today we have a party for anyone who is ready to make a commitment now, instead of waiting for Commitment Sunday in two weeks. (oops, today is actually May…) Anyway, I hope to be able to report next month that we have raised our $280,000-$300,000 to meet out goal. That’s a pretty big goal for a little church of less than 100 members, but we are very healthy, if aging, and are committed to living out our faith with our pocketbooks.

Unfortunately, HONESTY may have gotten me in trouble, as my “honest” tongue can tend to run away with me. I’m afraid I was a little too honest with a friend, and may have offended her (not that I didn’t mean it because she is a gossip and a chatterbox.) I may not have been as tactful as I could have been when I told her to quit telling me what someone else did wrong and tell them instead, if she felt so strongly about it. I have a very low threshold for triangularization.

I press on with my walking and my diet. Slowly, slowly, slowly now, the pounds are coming off, but at least they aren’t going back on.

Until next month’s report on HONESTY you can follow along with my daily pictures.








My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in March.

March was very busy with Lent and activities at the church. It started off with a group of us from Bethany feeding the college students dinner at The Lighthouse, an open and affirming Christian college fellowship at the University of Puget Sound here in Tacoma. We fixed Mexican food, and they seemed to love it. The best part was, we got to stay and eat supper with them, and then participate in their discussion after dinner. We talked about money and finances and how they relate to the church. They are thoughtful, kind, and interesting young people, and I am more hopeful for the future when they grow up.

We’ve also had a weekly Vesper Service every Wednesday night for about half an hour. Very similar to a Taize service.

In Sunday School we’ve spent the month reading Marcus Borg and Dominic Crosson’s The Last Week, What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem.


You can read reviews on Goodreads by following the link. So much of what has been things that I’ve struggled with is explained. You may or may not agree with their conclusions, but it will definitely make you think.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant in the Proctor District here in Tacoma.


It was good, but nothing special as Al and I frequent it often by ourselves.

Al and I continued our foray into creative writing with a formal fiction-writing class. It was fun, although I didn’t write much of anything until I was suddenly inspired for the last class to write the semi-genealogical, semi-fictional account of the Christening Robe and the people who were baptized in it. It was made by my great-grandmother in 1875 to baptize my father’s mother, and now five generations of the family have worn it for their baptism.

3-18 - Believe

This is my granddaughter, Kate, at her baptism in 2002.

I’ve been very busy with meetings for Olympia Presbytery and for my work with the Commission on Ministry, although not as busy as in February. I guess all the preachers are feeling a little overwhelmed with Lenten activities, too.

Pierce County Hunger Advocates held a workshop to teach churches how to conduct an offering of letters, sponsored by Bread for the World.


We had a small turnout, which was really sad, because we had a couple of great speakers. One was a principal here in Tacoma whose school has over 90% of the students on free or reduced price lunches. That’s major poverty. This fall, congress is going to be taking up the school lunch program, and we really need the citizens in this country to write letters to ensure they don’t cut it to the bone as they have threatened to do with so many “safety net” programs. Help if you can.

I struggle on with my diet. I DO have a new picture of me that shows some of the weight I’ve lost.

Abbie Watters

I credit my FitBit and MyFitnessPal with whatever success I’ve had. The weight is coming off very slowly, but at least I’m not gaining anything back.

The church is doing a capital campaign to raise money to bring the facilities up to ADA standards and to do some needed repairs on our 80-year-old building. THAT, of course is taking up a lot of my time. Since I’m being honest, I only hope we haven’t bitten off more than we can chew.

Not too much about HONESTY in this report, but I’m remembering my word, and trying to live my life in HONEST relationships.








My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in February.

February began with the Super Bowl. We went to the gathering over in the Wellness Center to watch with the other folks from Independent Living. We had a good time. There were good eats (hot dogs, sliders, etc.), but the best part was a GREAT black bean and corn salsa! I just ate it with a spoon instead of putting it on tortilla chips.

Al and I continued the whole month with the Writer’s Block (a workshop to encourage creative writing). The last week of the month it morphed into a more formal fiction-writing class that will last through March. It was fun, and forced me to start writing deliberately again. I’m not sure how I’m going to do with fiction, but we shall see. I’m also trying to get a blog started at church that gets submissions from everybody.

We had a couple from church join us at the Chef’s Table, and got to know them better.


I’ve been very busy with meetings for Olympia Presbytery and for my work with the Commission on Ministry. I conducted two exit interviews (one with the pastor who was retiring, and one with the session of the church he was leaving.) We also had a meeting on the State of the Presbytery. Like many we are suffering from loss of membership and congregations, but we are at last trying to move forward with goal of starting 1001 New Worshipping Communities in the next three years.

Al and I reconnected with Joe Smith, a Lutheran pastor who lives nearby. We haven’t seen him since the summer after we moved here. He lives about 10 miles away, but life (both his and ours) got in our way. It was good to reconnect over lunch.

On the health front, I have finally been able to start losing weight again after a three-month plateau! 2 pounds in three months, and then, in the last two weeks, BAM! I lost 4 pounds. Go figure! I’m sure that my FitBit helped me get here.


That’s last week’s report, so I’m pleased. I also just got my “New Zealand” Badge which means I’ve walked 990 miles since I got the FitBit in August.

Also on the health front, my cholesterol blood test came back with great numbers, so…NO MORE STATINS! unless I mess up and start eating poorly again.

I’m in the middle of a photo-a-day series during Lent, so most of my pictures have been posted on those posts.

Not too much about HONESTY in this report, but I’m remembering my word, and trying to live my life in HONEST relationships.







Thankful Tuesday


I know I probably sound like a broken record, or a sales rep for FitBit, but I’m so thankful for mine. It keeps me moving, even when I don’t really feel like it – and exercise is keeping me sane and on track as I struggle to lose some more weight. I’ve hit a MAJOR plateau – 2 pounds in 2+ months – BUT I’m not gaining anything as I struggle to stay motivated. The numbers from the doctors are favorable, even though the weight is being really stubborn about leaving.


My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

How am I doing with HONEST this month? I think I’m doing pretty well – at least when I’m tempted to “forget” to count the several handfuls of cashews I just put in my mouth, I remember my word and I add them to my food diary.

Towards the middle of January, I fell victim to the dreaded cough and stuffy nose – no fever, just horrible congestion. I’m not sure whether it was a strange cold or an allergy to something, but I was very uncomfortable for a couple of weeks. I did skip my exercising for a couple of days, because I just didn’t feel like it. To be HONEST, I rocked my way to my steps on those days when I was felling so awful. (See note below about exercise.) I made them clean the filter on the furnace to make sure it wasn’t mold in the duct system, and I seem to have mostly gotten over it.


It helped that there were several day last week when the sun came out and the temperature improved to 60 deg. I took full advantage of the warmer days and visited the park and the waterfront for a couple of long walks. Like the rest of the country I’m ready for spring to be here, but I suppose we must wait another couple of months to really turn the corner.

Snowy mountain

I’ve been busy – mostly with church and exercise – but I’ve also started participating in a creative writing group here at Tobey Jones and next week I’ll start piano lessons again.

Since I’m on the session, I’m responsible for the Hospitality and Outreach Team, and we’re beginning a couple of new mission projects to do with education. HONESTLY, this is one of the places my heart lies. We will be meeting with the principal at the elementary school that’s a block from the church to find out how we can help them. I’ve also developed a relationship with the fellow who runs the “progressive” church college fellowship at the University of Puget Sound. We will be taking food to their dinner in March and perhaps we can expand our mission to them.

Bethany Presbyterian Church (2)

Another BIG project at Bethany is the beginning of a Capital Campaign to raise money to bring the building up to ADA code. It’s a nice old building, but it’s three stories and there is no elevator. It makes it completely inaccessible for any activities held on the third floor, and difficult for anything held on the lower floor which is where the fellowship hall, main kitchen and nursery are. Additionally, there is no bathroom on the third floor where the Sunday School rooms are. So our little congregation of fewer than 100 people need to raise $300,000. We’ve hired a consultant who assures us we can do it, but I wouldn’t be HONEST if I didn’t say I’m afraid we might be biting off more than we can chew. That’s going to be a major project for the next year.


On the exercise front, I’ve been faithful and mostly HONEST about getting my 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit (except for the two days I was sick). I will admit that sometimes I haven’t walked as much as the device has reported – it counts steps as I rock in my recliner in the evening watching TV – but I’m always careful to get the full 10,000 steps for the day before I sit down.

I did get some great news when I went to the doctor for my bi-annual type-2 diabetes check-up. Because of my obsessive exercise and food monitoring, I have apparently lost enough weight, eaten correctly and exercised enough that I am no longer clinically diabetic. My HbA1C was 5.9 (with no medication) and “diabetic” starts above 6.0. Of course, I have to keep eating right and exercising, and not gain any weight, but health-wise I’m fine. I’ve even been able to experiment with eliminating the statin I’ve been taking for many years. I particularly wanted to get rid of it so I could eat grapefruit again. The hurdle is my blood pressure medicine.

That’s been January – HONESTLY!



As you may remember, my one word for the year is “Provide”.

It’s the Oregon Civil War this afternoon. The Ducks are #2 in the national poles and have already clinched the PAC-12 North Championship. If they can get past the Beavers today and Arizona in the PAC-12 Championship Game next week, they will be in the first College Football National Championship Playoff. I just hope they don’t look past Oregon State today. #GoDucks


My first-cousin-once-removed, Anna Carr, was in Seattle/Tacoma early in the month. Her visit PROVIDED us with a nice opportunity to visit Harbor Lights for lunch.

At Harbor Lights

I’m still PROVIDING leadership at church on the Session and on the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery.

One of the new projects for Bethany I’m trying to get started is a closer relationship with the college students at the University of Puget Sound. I was able to connect with their director, and we will be PROVIDING dinner for their gathering in March. I led a Centering Prayer session with them at a retreat one Saturday evening, and they were really great kids.


As I reported last month, Big Al and I have begun a new creative writing class (he has taken it for the past couple of years, but there hadn’t been space in the class for me, until now.) I wrote a couple of stories and this little poem that I posted here last week.

The rains have started, so I’ve moved my exercise into the Wellness Center. I’ll admit the scenery isn’t nearly as good inside as outside, but I press on. The diet is going well. I’m losing about half-a-pound a week (and for almost one year in, that’s pretty good.) I’m taking the month of December (actually from Thanksgiving through New Years Day) off from the strict diet. I am still working out and counting my steps with my FitBit, but I’ve reduced my target steps from 10,000 a day to 8,000 a day – and I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t “get my buzz.”

I’m going to be posting from prompts from this list during Advent. Join me for a Bible verse, picture, and short reflection every day until Christmas.


I hope you enjoyed my “Gratitude” series during November, and that this will PROVIDE you with a short moment of respite during the hectic days leading up to Christmas.



Connection – Addicted to the Buzz

For my birthday last week I got a FitBit Flex. If you’ve been following my diet reports and wanderings, you know I’ve lost almost 60 lbs in the last year and a half. It’s been slow, but pretty steady, and I’ve tried to exercise some each day. But until I got the FitBit, I didn’t really know how many calories I was burning.


This little baby counts my steps and, based on my weight, tells me how many calories I’m burning in a day. And it’s all connected wirelessly to my computer.

My other tool in this journey has been the program and apps from MyFitnessPal. By entering the food I eat every day, I get a pretty accurate calorie count and can pair it with my activity as reported by my FitBit.


And those two programs are connected wirelessly to give me a picture of where I am in my diet – every single minute of the day.

Now you may be thinking that’s way more trouble than it’s worth, but, for a many, many times failed dieter, they have been my saving grace.

One of the best things about these programs is that they help connect me to friends and acquaintances who are also struggling to improve their health and fitness with diet and exercise.

You may be wondering where the title of this post comes from. Well, when I reach my target number of steps for the day, the lovely little FitBit Flex on my wrist buzzes gently, and lights up five tiny lights. I’ve been known to walk around in circles (otherwise known as “pacing”) in the evening just waiting for the buzz. It is a super-satisfying sound and sensation that tells me I’ve done what I needed to do that day.

If you are interested in following my progress daily (although why you would be, I don’t know), you can follow my other site http://gettingseriousaboutmybody.wordpress.com. If you are struggling and want some support or encouragement, you can connect with me there or on either of the apps listed above, and we’ll cry together about how much we REALLY wanted that piece of birthday cake or about how the exercise equipment is kicking our butts.

This post is part of August’s Syncroblog. Check out all the posts.

Jerry Wirtley – Connection
Sara Quezada – Can You Really Know Someone In A Different Language?
Ford – Interindependence
Michael Donahoe – Connection
Minnow – Our Dis-Connect
Justin Steckbauer – Connection in Love, it’s what Life is all about!
Carol Kuniholm – Disengagement and Connection
Wesley Rostoll – Finding Jesus In Different Places
Doreen A Mannion – A bunny, a fawn and some geese walk into a bar …
Leah Sophia – Touch of Life
Karen “Charity” Aldrich – Wuv True Wuv
Abbie Watters – Connection – Addicted to the Buzz
Liz Dyer – Human Connection and the Power of Empathy