Sunday, July 31, 2016

with two hands

My sister finally retired after spending most of her adult life riding the early morning 
train, Monday through Friday, down into the city for her work day in a tall well-known "skyscraper." 
 I wondered what she would do when she no longer spent her days like that. 
One thing she told me she is doing is going to her neighbor's house every Tuesday for tea. 
Yes, her neighbor opens up her home every Tuesday morning for her neighbors 
to come and get to know each other over a cup of tea. 
That sounds really nice to me!
I read awhile ago an article about "double handed" coffee. 
The idea is to invite a small group of friends for coffee and a scone or muffin. 
The double-handed coffee concept is to turn off 
and put cell phones away, hold your coffee cup, look at each other and talk.

So I tried it.

 I invited three other women over for coffee and I had a few questions 
in mind to ask as we didn't all know each other well. 
I made coffee and put out scones I had bought (to keep it simple), 
a little fruit, and some pieces of chocolate. 
We never got past the first question which was to tell a bit about our life stories. 
It was fascinating and at times led to tangents, but that's OK. 
We learned so much about each other and the time flew. 
Technology did not distract us and I think we all came away 
from the time feeling refreshed in both old and new friendships.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

End of July Hodgepodge

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why? 
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)
I'd say a "3" as most of our plans were canceled or on hold due to the Gardener's long illness (viral meningitis) beginning in June. Thankfully he is almost well again, but has lots of work to catch up on, so the rest of the summer doesn't look too exciting either. But I'm extremely grateful that he is better!
(Photo:  youngest son and his son refurbished our swing for us.)

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).
I have 16 aunts and uncles, including their spouses. Only three are still living. I have wonderful memories of happy times with them all, but I think a great-aunt may have been the most special to me. She took such an interest in us, sending us cards and notes, and each one she signed "Heaps of love and daily prayers." She lived to be 103, so I had those prayers for a long time. I have eight nieces and nephews and seven great-nieces and nephews, and love being involved in their lives.

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?
I'm not a great dipper. I prefer chocolate on it's own and cheese on its own. Both favorites of mine!

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.
This may show my age, but Sunday on my way into church I was astonished at the sight of the very, very short silky shorts outfit a young woman walking in front of us was wearing into church. 

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?
I did a little ironing today as well as checked my Pinterest board for a recipe, so there's a toss up. 

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?
There are so many. It may be a three-way tie: Esther, Rahab, and Ruth/Naomi. 
Not only was there romance in their stories, but strength and strong faith 
as they trusted God and stepped out and did hard things.

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?
San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Huntingdon Beach, and Santa Monica. I have traveled on five continents, but have never been to California. A visit there is on the bucket list!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
People are complaining about the heat, and I agree it is more intense and longer lasting 
without a break or a good rainstorm than is normal here. Or, I'm losing my tolerance for it. 
Usually I don't mind the heat and enjoy the porch with a fan, 
but it sits a bit neglected these days.

Joining Joyce for:

Friday, July 22, 2016

a cheap date

The grandees and I enjoyed a whole day together
with lots of entertainment that didn't cost a thing.
After collecting them from their house, 
the first thing we did was to park in the shade near
the demolition of building where I used to work. 
So much to see, though not quite as exciting as an implosion.
If we turned our heads to the right we could watch a basket
of men rising to the top to work on a cell phone tower.
Very exciting, especially for the middle grandee,
who happens to be a boy.
Then off to the airport to watch planes take off and enjoy the breeze on a hot day.
And a little exercise running down the steep hill
and climbing back up the rain eroded path.
They were quite impressed Grandma knows about
veggie sticks and brought them as a snack.
On the way back home we read a chapter from the book we are reading together
while Grandpa drove. It kept things nice and quiet.
Then at Grandma's house: lunch, play, more stories and almost a whole
bags of cookies consumed (no one is claiming credit).
Seems something always is carried home from Grandma's house
and this time it was these colored little (shot) glasses I bought for them at 
20 cents a piece. Amazing how crazy they were for them.
They play restaurant a lot, so that might be one reason.

There's at least five things here so I'll join Amy's Five on Friday.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

as lovely as a tree

Maybe it's because of the intense heat at this time of year, 
but I find my eyes often drawn to the trees.
Their leaves are rich with green in full array,
and shade stretching from them welcomes a cooler place.
"I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
"A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
"A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
"A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
"Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
"Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree."
Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918
Turning from the horrible events of recent weeks,
I gaze upon a shady tree,
and find some rest for a weary mind.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Five Things to Do

We often talk in our mentor group about how to help others when there 
is illness or other hard times. During this time of the Gardener being so 
sick we've experienced the care of community first hand.  
I notice five things that we especially appreciated.

1. Friends and family checking in on us with a text or email rather
than a phone call.  A note or card in the mail is sweeter still. 
Occasionally phone calls are fine but often we were too tired to talk.
2. Friends reminded us that they were there if we needed anything, 
even suggesting ways they could help.
 I know they meant it and felt free to call on them. 
3. We didn't need meals but an occasional break for me was nice. 
4. I appreciated encouragement for me through
a bountiful bouquet of flowers. 
See how they multiplied and I barely missed a small nosegay
I took to an elderly friend in a nursing home on her birthday. 
(Note to self: be sure to save small jars for giving flowers to others).
5. People that pray assured us of their prayers.
How much that meant to us!

I hope seeing this thoughtfulness first hand
 will help me be better at showing others I care.

Linking to Amy's Five on Friday.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

out of the mouth of babes comes ...

…comfort. Do you find it true? Kids and dogs seem to sense when you're sad and know 
just what to do. I had a very hard adjustment when we first moved to Africa with a baby 
and a toddler. Tears came frequently, especially at the beginning of a new day. 
I'd sit in the kitchen, tears streaming down my face, 
trying to muster up energy to make yucky porridge, missing cheerios for the boys.
I wondered how I could manage this new way of living.
(I did eventually adjust and loved our life there.)
Along would come Eldest with his arms wide open to hug and comfort me. 
He wasn't quite three.

The Gardener has been very ill in recent weeks. I can write about it now because he is
 getting well. A vicious virus attacked his body. It's been a rough patch and good to see light 
at the end of the tunnel. One day Youngest son suggested I go over to spend time 
with the grands. As we cuddled on the couch to read stories, I could tell they knew something was up. 
They were so sweet and just being with them was a huge dose of a medicine called comfort.
Photos: my two best givers of comfort,
in Africa, long before they became grown men.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Five good things about mornings

In random order:
1. Breakfast.
2. Coffee
3. Time for reflection and prayer as a new day begins.
4. Checking on the garden in coolish morning air.
5.  And then a more vigorous walk around the neighborhood.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mornings are my favorite time of day.
They offer the opportunity for fresh starts, new projects,
renewed energy and endless possibilities.

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