30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/17/17

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

Tonight we eat at the Chef’s Table here at Franke Tobey Jones. The menu tonight is baked French onion soup, breast of chicken Picatta, garlic buttered pasta, roasted vegetables with balsamic drizzle, and dark chocolate ganache tart for dessert, accompanied with wine. Chef Tim will cook the chicken tableside, and we’ll enjoy dinner with 10 other residents and guests.

Once more, I’m reminded how thankful I am that we chose this place for our “forever” home.

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/6/17

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 little house at Franke Tobey Jones in Tacoma, WA. It’s warm and cozy in the winter, and cool and breezy in the summer. The maintenance people keep everything running smoothly and the landscaping crew keeps the grass mowed, and leaf-free. I’m happy here.



Throw-back Thursday

Boxes in the Kitchen

Three years ago we rolled into Tacoma, and began our new life at Franke Tobey Jones. The days of wall to wall boxes and falling over each other in the one-bedroom apartment have been over for long enough that they are barely a distant memory. This was a wonderful decision we made six years ago, and all the angst of selling and not selling the house, and travel, and packing, unpacking, etc. were well worth it.











Celebrate – #rethinkchurch

(Once again I’m following ReThinkChurch’s prompts for a photo-a-day during Lent.)

3-15 - Celebrate

The decorations here at Franke Tobey Jones have been anticipating St. Patrick’s Day for weeks. As I come from a long line of  Orangemen I have a little trouble getting in the spirit. 😦

It Is Well with My Soul

(This post is part of the February synchroblog “Renewal”)

“How’s your soul?” Pastor Sarah asked one day.

I was momentarily taken aback because I hadn’t really thought about it. Then I answered, “I’m really happy. Satisfied. Content. It is well with my soul.”

It came as a bit of a surprise to me. You see, I’ve spent my whole life moving from liminal space to liminal space. You know what liminal space is – it’s the feeling you have when you have finished one phase of your life, but you aren’t ready or able to move to the next phase yet. Think of it as a doorway – you’ve left the room you were in, but you haven’t really entered the next room. Sometimes we get caught there – in liminal space – and we can’t go back but we can’t go forward either.

Possibly my continual feeling of search for liminal space had to do with the way I was raised. We lived in 9 houses in 7 towns/cities before I graduated from high school. I never could get too attached to any place, or to any group of people other than my family, because I knew we would be moving pretty soon.

After I met and married Al, the pattern continued, since he was in the Air Force, and there was always another assignment in the future – probably no more than 3 years away. So even the rooms in my life took on some of the aspects of the doorways in and out – liminal space.

I certainly don’t resent the liminal space of my life. There are those who say you never learn anything unless you are in liminal space. Sometimes the lessons were easy and sometimes they were hard, but I was learning all the while.

And then both Al and I retired, and I got our parents buried and our children married, and we looked at each other and said, “Whew, what do we want to do with the rest of our lives, and where do we want to do it?”

We knew we didn’t want to live where there were hot summers or where there were cold, snowy winters, so we decided on the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, we spent several weeks traveling around Washington and Oregon looking for a great place to live – beautiful scenery, temperate climate, with the services we might need from the military, and a great retirement community. We settled on Franke Tobey Jones here in Tacoma, and went home to Dallas to sell the house.

Then we entered the most difficult liminal space of my life. For three years we sat in a house that we were trying to sell – with all the attendant hope and despair – and waited. We had told our church, and our friends, and our family of our plans, and we were ready to leave in a month or so – as soon as the house sold. But no buyers came forward. We detached from activities and friends – we were adrift – we were lost in liminal space.

Fortunately, during that time, I was able to connect with some really good friends virtually. They lived on the internet, so I knew I wouldn’t lose them when we relocated.  Some I’ve met in real life, and some stay where I found them in virtual space – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as important to me as flesh and blood people whom I see every day. Many of them are pastors. Most of them are Presbyterians. Sarah was one of them – even in 2009, three years before we met in person.

One of the most important things I learned during those three years was the importance of Centering Prayer. Some people call it meditation, or mindfulness, but I know it as prayer. I still practice it every day. It’s a time set aside to let God work in me. It’s a time spent in silence. It’s a time spent in contemplation. It’s not a time for asking God for help for me or others. It’s not even a time for praising God. There are no words involved. If thoughts come into my head, I’ve learned to just let them go. And somewhere in the silence, God works through my problems, takes my worries and replaces them with contentment.

It sounds terribly cliché, but perhaps we use the clichés because they are true. I’ve learned “It’s not up to me.” I can say “It is what it is.” I truly “Let go and let God.”

So now, in this beautiful, green leafy world, watched over by Mt. Rainier, and tempered by Puget Sound, I repeat, “it is well with my soul.


Synchroblog “Renewal” link list

Done With Religion – Renewal

Mark Votova – 30 Ways the Church Can Find Renewal

Jeremy Myers – I am Dying … (So I Can Live Again)

Phil Lancanster – The Parable of the Classic Car

Susan Schiller – Renewal by Design

Glenn Hager – Repurposed

Wesley Rostoll – Why I no longer pray for revival

Clara Ogwuazor-Mbamalu – Renewal of the Spirit

K. W. Leslie – Those who wait on the Lord

Lisa Brown – Momma’s Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay For A While!

Jenom Makama – …Like An Antivirus

Leah – Renewal!


Washington State History Museum

Yesterday, we took the bus from Tobey Jones to the Washington State History Museum. They had free admission in honor of Martin Luther King’s Birthday.


The museum is housed in the old Union Station which was declared a national monument after train travel became less important and the upkeep of the building became more than the Union Pacific Railroad could afford. Part of it is now the Federal Courthouse and part has been refurbished as the museum. For its size, it has many very interesting exhibits.

I spent a lot of time at the model train layout (thanks to Ray Watters). I found it was really very accurate about Tacoma (and Western Washington in general) for the early part of the 20th century. It was interesting to see places that I’ve heard about in Tacoma’s history that aren’t there any more. It helps to be able to place them accurately, geologically.

There was a small, but nice, section about the history of women’s suffrage in Washington, honoring those early women who led the fight for voting rights for women. (Since it was MLK day, I was particularly interested in minority rights in Washington).

There was also a good series of short films about the Native Americans, and their poor treatment as the area was settled. The focus was on the loss of their cultures and languages. There were over 150 different tribes in Washington State, alone. Much of that is completely lost now.

I watched a longer (about 20 minutes or so) documentary about the Columbia River. It reawakened in me a desire to find out more about the exploitation of the river, because my grandfather worked on the dams around Spokane between 1905 and 1925 or so. My uncle was also an engineer for Portland Power and Light that ran the big hydro-electric dams on the lower Columbia River as well.

There were lots of interactive exhibits with hands-on activities that kids would appreciate. There were also exhibits showing a life-sized passenger rail car (that you could go inside), factory rooms, early dwellings, etc.  There was even a “pioneer” cabin with period clothing in kid sizes that they could dress up in.

I was disappointed not to see anything about Tacoma’s treatment of their Asian populations – either the expulsion of the Chinese in 1885, or the internment of the Japanese during World War II. The fact that this information was missing from the museum made me feel less confident in the other exhibits. I know these were shameful episodes in Tacoma’s history, but it was like I went to a historical museum in Dallas and no mention was made of the Kennedy assassination.

I just did a quick overview of the museum, and I think I will definitely go back.