Archive for November, 2016

136. Hugs

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Some things are simple. I’m thankful for friends who will give me hugs when I need them. I have a lot of people like that in my life. I am blessed.

135. Waiting

Friday, November 25th, 2016

My small group and I are going through a book by Mike Mason called Champagne for the Soul: Rediscovering God’s Gift of Joy. One sentence from today’s selection really struck me:

Wailting, it turns out, is a joyful activity in itself.

One reason it struck me is that I’ve long believed you should never ever pray for patience, because then you will be given opportunities where you need to be patient. But I believe a great substitute prayer is to pray to enjoy the moment.

Another reason it struck me is that today is six years from the day my divorce was final.

And waiting ties in with that. After I found out my husband was seeing someone else, when we were still living together and I was still desperately hoping to patch things up (more than eleven years ago), I asked God, desperately, “Lord, why don’t you please fix this NOW?”

There were many, many times I felt God spoke to me during the whole awful divorce process. But that time was the first time. For the next week, every time I opened my Bible or a Christian book, I read the words, “Wait on the Lord.”

More recently, after my youngest moved out and I was facing the empty nest, I asked God if I should go back to online dating. I feel very ready to be dating again, and very ready to be married again.

But I felt like God’s answer was, “Wait. I’ve got this. Wait.”

And you know what’s interesting about waiting? It does help you notice what you have now.

If I’d gone straight into a new relationship, I wouldn’t have this home by a lake, where I can walk and see beautiful things. And I’m going to have to leave it if I ever get married again — there just isn’t room for someone else’s stuff!

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In fact, the whole eleven years’ waiting process — It brought me closer in my relationship with God than ever before in my life. I can honestly say I’m thankful for it. (Though I wouldn’t volunteer to go through it again!)

Even now, I’m on an award committee and need to read during every possible spare moment for three months solid. And you know what? Reading during every spare minute is much easier to do when you’re not in a relationship. I’m also hoping to be on the 2019 Newbery Committee and reading during all of the year 2018. That, too will be easier to do if I am not in a relationship.

But may I enjoy the wait. And may I treasure these moments.

134. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Spokesperson!

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

I’m on TV!

On Monday, I was holding a kick-off for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, and our local station, Channel 16, wanted to do a feature, since it’s a new initiative for the library system.

I was nervous about it.  I was making up the program.  I thought I’d read a couple books, then sign the parents up while the others read to their kids or the kids played with toys.  But I wasn’t absolutely sure that was going to work.

On Sunday, I was reading in Champagne for the Soul, by Mike Mason, and I read the sentence, “What are you allowing to get between you and your joy?” I immediately thought how I was stressed out about the program the next day.

And then I thought, Why not just enjoy it?  Why should I be stressed?  I know it won’t go perfectly smoothly, and I know I will stumble over my words in spots or think of better things I could have said.  And I am truly excited about this program, encouraging parents to read with their kids.  So it’s not a stretch at all to enjoy it.

What I didn’t realize — I’d have a professional editor preparing the clip.  Yes, I stumbled over my words.  Yes, it took several times of them asking me questions.  But in the finished version, all that’s taken out, and it sounds like I know what I’m talking about!  Best of all, they did a great job filming the kids and parents in the program more than filming me.

I’m very happy with how this turned out, and so happy to be a spokesperson for such a great program!

133. Details

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

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My life changed when I got a camera with a zoom lens.

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That was when I discovered how much zooming in and looking at details could be beautiful.

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I wasn’t necessarily seeing the trees for the forest.

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Yes, there’s wonderful Fall Color in the trees.  But there are also little patches of color which, if you zoom in, are also beautiful.

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They’re hiding in plain sight.

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It’s so easy to not even notice them.

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But a zoom lens helps me look more closely.  It highlights the quiet beautiful details, the colorful corners.

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The zoom lens helps me to see and notice.

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I’m pretty sure God uses a zoom lens when he looks at me.

He sees my details and sees my beauty that others overlook.

132. Good Books to Read

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

I’m a judge for the Cybils this year in YA Speculative Fiction.  At first, I was a bit daunted — I need to do a lot of reading.  But I’ve been having a wonderful time doing it.  And the books are so good!  Granted, I have only read 16 books so far.  But I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy YA Speculative Fiction.  This stuff is good!

And I am blessed that I really need to read this great stuff!

131. Leaves as Lucky Pennies

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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Tonight I went for a walk as the sun was going down and hitting the brightly colored leaves up on the ridge that I can see from my window.

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Several threads came together and exploded with wonder in my thoughts while I was walking.  I’m going to try to express some of those.

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It started with thinking about a Project 52 post I wrote last night.  I had reflected on the year I was 20 years old and started dating my husband-to-be.

This morning I remembered something I’d forgotten to write about.  We used to hide pennies for each other.  It came from an Annie Dillard quote that I’d read that summer from A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

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I had included in the Project 52 post lots of pictures of my friends in the S.I.K. Club, a club about not being afraid to be silly and about embracing joys.  This morning my friend Jovial Gina, one of the S.I.K.s, indicated on Facebook that she really enjoyed remembering back to those silly days.

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Gina has recently written a book called Camino Divina, a book about taking meditative walks.  In each chapter she highlights a different “saint” and looks at their inspirational writings.  For several months now, I’ve been reading a short section of Gina’s book right before I go on my walks, to give me something to think about.

Tonight I started a new chapter.  I was in a hurry because the sun was getting lower in the sky.  And guess who the saint of the new chapter was?  Annie Dillard!

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I was in a hurry, so I’m afraid I read Gina’s thoughts on Annie Dillard’s writings hastily.  But she did get me thinking about finding pennies, and how they represent finding small joys.

I started reciting in my mind the passage I quoted above.

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Another thread:  On Saturday, I did the same walk among the trees.  (Though they weren’t quite as bright yet.)  As I was leaving and the sun had stopped lighting them up, a couple passed and told me I should go to Skyline Drive if I really want to see beautiful leaves.

Now, I’ve been to Skyline Drive in the past, and it is indeed beautiful.  But I’m not going to ignore the gorgeous beauty lit up outside my window just because there’s a more spectacular place an hour away!

Tonight I decided that each bright leaf is like a copper penny.

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A lot of people don’t think a penny is worth picking up.

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It’s really easy to just drive by and not notice how beautiful the leaves are.

(Though my growing up in southern California helps me to be amazed every year.  The leaves all turning at the same time always seems miraculous.)

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And I decided that taking pictures of the leaves was a little like picking up the pennies.

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Only this way, I could pick up a million pennies, a million little miracles, all at the same time.

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It’s that simple.  What you see is what you get.

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