206. My Dad’s Care of my Mom

Today in my small group we were talking about a mother with dementia and how hard it is for the father who can’t take care of his wife, because of his own health issues. One of the other group members had the same thing happen before his mother died – it was so hard on his father.

So even though it is awful that my mom is in late-stage Alzheimer’s at a relatively young age – I’m so thankful that my Dad is still healthy enough to care for her at home.

I know it’s awful for him, and he is truly amazing and so loving and kind.

I’m thankful that he’s able to do it and thankful that he does it.

205. Seven Years of Singleness

Seven years ago today, my divorce was finalized.

At the time, I was scared. I got married right after finishing grad school. So I hadn’t lived as a single adult on my own, out in the world. I felt unprotected and alone.

But – being single turned out to be lovely! I am working as a librarian, making my own friends, active in church, choosing activities that I like to do.

I have even managed to buy a car and keep it maintained! (That was one of the most daunting things. Done.) Why, I even chose and bought my own home (with a down payment from my dad, okay) – something we never managed to do as a couple.

Yes, there have been lonely times. Yes, I hope to marry again some day. But life is very good even if that doesn’t happen.

And this year I’m even on the Newbery committee!

Earlier this month, a family crisis got me feeling vulnerable and alone again. But now things are better, and I just keep on seeing herons, as I mentioned a couple days ago.

Herons represent self-reliance and remind me that, yes, I am just plain thankful for the last seven years.

I am not only living my single life with grace; I am soaring.

205. Friends

Raise your hand if you’re having someone over who doesn’t have family nearby. My dear friend Darlene is doing that for me today – and I’m so thankful! I’ve known Darlene since we were in 3rd grade, so she feels like family. Thanksgiving is a good day to remember that I’m surrounded by people who love me, even when my family is far away.

204. Great Blue Herons

At least one great blue heron likes to frequent my lake. When I first moved here, rather new at being divorced, a friend urged me to look up the “spirit meaning” of herons. Supposedly they represent self-reliance, balance, navigating life’s difficulties with grace. Sounds good!

This month something happened that got me feeling down and alone.

And then I started seeing lots of great blue herons.

On my trip to Chincoteague and Assateague, I hoped to see ponies (and eventually did) – but saw great blue herons each day:

After I got home, when it stopped raining, the first time I took a walk around my lake, there was a heron again.

Then three out of four days this week, when I looked out my window at breakfast, there was a heron. I didn’t even have breakfast at the same time each day.

And finally, I went for another walk around my lake today and saw another one.

I decided I don’t have to feel alone. I can focus on self-reliance and balance. And whatever comes next, I’m going to be able to navigate it with grace.

And besides, it’s really fun to see so many of these beautiful birds!

203. Close Encounter

I took a reading retreat in Chincoteague. I was a little disappointed to only see ponies from a distance. I admit, I prayed and asked to have a closer encounter. I didn’t expect to have one actually pass me on a narrow path on the beach! I then walked for a long way following the pony or parallel to the pony.

It was awesome.

202. Concert

I went to an awesome concert last night featuring Mandisa and Danny Gokey, also with performances by Jasmine Murray and Love & the Outcome.

Besides being stunningly talented singers, they’ve been through hard times and struggled with major depression. Their songs were all about how God is always with you, how God works through pain, and how you will grow, and how you can now step into the light.

Lovely, uplifting stuff. I affirm that it’s all true – and what better way to affirm these things than to sing them?

201. Holding Babies

I got to work in the Babies’ classroom this morning at church. There were three workers and three babies, so each of us got to play with and hold one baby. The one I was playing with was actively playing about half the service. Then he got a little fussy. I held him in the rocking chair and showed him some board books that had things to touch and feel.

He didn’t go to sleep, but he did lean back and relax. And when a baby relaxes, he is completely relaxed!

And it was such lovely therapy for me!

Lorna Byrne says that babies are born exuding pure love. I could feel it in those sweet babies today.