Archive for August, 2015

24. Family Math Games

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

MathGames3

Today we had the “Family Math Games” program at the library again.  (The pictures are from a previous month, but it’s the same idea.)  I’ve got lots of board games and card games that build math skills, and the only requirement is that parents play with their kids.

Today 40 people came.  We had families with all different age levels representing, playing all different difficulty levels of games.  We had small children playing the easiest matching games and we had a family playing Splendor, one of my own personal favorite games.  We had many different ethnicities represented and a nice representation from each gender.

And people were having a wonderful time together.  And kids were learning.  And parents were playfully teaching their kids.

The library’s games collection started with games my kids have outgrown, but our Friends group paid for additional math-related games.  I’m also happy that these games are still getting used and still helping families have fun.

It did my heart good to see it.  I’m so happy about bringing this program to our community.

MathGames2

23. My Lake

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Lake4

 

In April 2013, I moved into a condo overlooking a lake.  And when I say overlooking, walls on two sides are filled with big windows through which you can see the lake.

It’s not a big lake.  When I walk to the other side and back, I travel a little over a mile.  But it’s lovely.  The wildflowers growing by it change by the week.  I regularly see birds and bunnies when I walk by and have also seen squirrels, deer, and foxes.

And those birds!  I never get tired of seeing a great blue heron who likes to hang out here.  (More on that later!)  But I also see great egrets, goldfinches, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, woodpeckers, robins, mallards, Canada geese, and other interesting or seemingly ordinary birds.

What’s more, the lake gave me back my health!  In August 2011 I had a stroke.  I had the stroke because of an accident, not from lack of fitness — but the stroke itself destroyed my fitness level.

When I moved into this condo, the lake was so enticing, I was able to get myself to walk around it regularly.  I had never in all my life done a regular exercise program before.  I feel much more fit than I was after the stroke and before I started walking.

My lake is a daily blessing I’m so thankful for.

Lake3

22. Toddlers

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Today I did a small storytime for toddlers.

The world is a better place because toddlers are in it.

Mind you, it’s extra fun to get to interact with toddlers when their own mothers are in the room.  And extra fun to get to read to them.

Sometimes I forget what a blessing my job is.

21. Babies

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Today I got to work in the Babies’ class at church.  We had two babies, one for each of us helping.  Okay, one baby wouldn’t stop crying until we finally got Mommy.  And then the baby I was holding started crying.

But she was very happy before that.  I had gotten lots of delighted baby smiles.  And then after some crying, during which I cuddled her, she went to sleep in my arms.

Do you know how long it’s been since a baby went to sleep in my arms?

(I actually don’t know.  But it’s been a long time.)

I’m smiling about it still.

20. Time with my Son

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Today my son came back from his summer internship!

Never mind that I have to take him back to college — for his last semester — in less than 48 hours.

It is simply wonderful to have him home with me.

And we talked and talked for at least an hour.

And that’s just lovely.

I am blessed to have two children who have grown into such fine adults.

And tonight I get to be with one of them.

This makes me happy.

19. My Co-Workers

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Today we had a retirement party for one of my co-workers, Lynne Imre.  They don’t come any nicer than Lynne Imre!  And she’s great at her job, too.

And that reminds me how blessed I am with fantastic co-workers working at the library.  I like Library People.  They’re book people; they’re smart (always learning); they’re in a job to help people.

18. A Jigsaw Puzzle

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Puzzle

Okay, this one’s probably silly.  But I currently have a jigsaw puzzle out that’s a painting of Killarney in Ireland.

I play some Christian music while working on a jigsaw puzzle and feel happy.

A quiet blessing, but it is one.

17. TechShop Programs at the Library

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Today was the third of three programs that TechShop DC/Arlington has done for us at the City of Fairfax Regional Library.  There was a vinyl cutting program where the kids learned to create stickers on the vinyl cutter, Sphero Robotic Ball Racing where the kids made an obstacle course from cardboard and then ran the robot spheres through it, and today Computer Deconstruction where the TechShop folks brought in two old computers and lots of tools and showed the kids how to take them apart and how they work inside.

All of the programs were fantastic.  I’m jazzed that we were able to bring them to kids.

Today it delighted me to see the kids start out kind of reserved and holding back…Deconstruction1

But once the drill came out…

Deconstruction2

They got more and more engaged.

Deconstruction4

I simply loved seeing them get better and better at figuring out how to take each next layer apart.  They were having a fantastic time; they were feeling empowered; and they were discovering really cool stuff deep inside the computers!

Deconstruction3It was an awesome thing to watch!

16. Good Counsel

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Today my pastor and his wife took me to lunch.  They gave me wise counsel, a listening ear, good advice, and loving support.

I mentioned in my list of good things about living alone, I’ve been experiencing the Empty Nest Blues lately.  These blues are tied in with some other big things happening in my life lately, and also with enduring scars from my divorce.

I so wish I was done with dealing with that.  I also know how to deal with the blues — Strategies include giving thanks and talking with loving, caring people, among other things — but a part of me doesn’t like the weakness that I keep on having to deal with it.

Diane and Ed were kind.  Reminded me that I’ve got plenty of losses to grieve, and grieving is a process.

Also today my cousin posted about her own griefs.  And made a wise statement that sometimes grieving losses and celebrating blessings happens at the same time.

I think that’s part of the trouble I’m having accepting my own grief — It feels ungrateful to have these feelings when I’m so blessed.

But yes, life happens.  Emotions happen in all their riotous confusion.  I could choose to go numb about them all.  But how much better to experience life in all its craziness.  My painful emotions prove I’m still alive, still tenderhearted, still a caring person.

And the most valuable gift my pastor and his wife gave me?  With their time and attention and care and concern, they helped me feel loved and cared for.  And reminded me that indeed I am loved and cared for.

And very blessed.

15. Living Alone

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Heron on the Housetop

Okay, I’ll admit it:  The last few days, maybe even few weeks (since I got back from visiting family on the west coast), I’ve had some bouts of the Empty Nest Blues.

My youngest son is doing a summer internship in Portland, Oregon this year.  He’s working at the same company my oldest works for.  He just turned 21.  He’s graduating after just one more semester; and he’s talking about moving back to Portland after he does.

On top of that, it seems lately I’ve gotten more than my share of bozos and scammers contacting me on the online dating site I’m on — all emphasizing that I’m living alone.

Mind you, my mind is fine with it.  I enjoy living alone!  But my heart is missing my kids, missing having a husband who’s in love with me, and, well, a little extra prone to the blues lately.

However — there are many, many wonderful things about living alone.  And I’m going to continue to go over and over those blessings in my mind — and hope the message will eventually get to my heart.

First, living alone is much, much better than living with a husband who actively dislikes me and is working to tear me down and explain why he can’t possibly live with me.  Enough said.

It’s amazing how much less time I have to spend on chores like cleaning and cooking and shopping.  I don’t have to clean up after anyone except myself!

I can play music I love as loud as I want and as long as I want.  No one is bothered a bit.

I can read as late as I want with the lights on.  No one is bothered a bit.

I can go to my gaming group every Friday night without finding out if anyone else wants to go and without feeling like I’m neglecting anyone.

I can jaunt off to the Smithsonian on a whim if I want to.

I can live in a smallish, cozy condo which I chose based on what I like (the view) and which has no yard work whatsoever.

I can be as active in my church as I wish to be — arrive early and leave late.  I’m not bothering anyone if I linger and talk.

I can spend lots of time working on my website, and again, I’m not bothering anyone by not spending time with them.  (See also less time doing chores and more time reading.)

I’m working on writing a book.  Again, spending time doing this doesn’t bother anyone.

I can do a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table or coffee table, and it’s not in anyone’s way.

Groceries cost an impressive amount less.

I can have just as long a quiet time every day as I want.  I can memorize verses by reading them out loud — no one notices.

I can sing at the top of my lungs.

I can surround myself with things I love (meaning books, yarn, and games).

And… you know what?  I think it’s time to give my sister a call.  But I can do that, too!

Honestly, I’m telling my heart — there’s an up side….

Am I protesting too much?  No, these are indeed wonderful things.  And I really do believe that God loves me and is with me and looking after me.  I do not want to pray for patience in this season of life — I want to pray to enjoy it fully.