41. Dinner with a Lifelong Friend

I am so blessed to live near two friends I’ve known since 3rd grade.  Which now is a large enough percentage of my life, I can call them my lifelong friends.

Tonight I had dinner with one of them, Darlene, for her birthday.  Since we went to the same place we went to last June for my birthday, we think we’ve started a tradition!

But when I spend a couple hours with someone I’ve known so long, someone who knows me through and through and knows my family and cares about me and who’s just fun to be with — well, it’s going to be a long time before I feel lonely.  Even when I go home to my solitary snuggery.

I have some of the best friends a person could ever wish to have.  I am tremendously blessed.

40. My Pretty, Pretty Prius

I got my Prius serviced today — with over 202,000 miles on it.  Though they did recommend a coolant flush (every 100,000 miles), otherwise this time there were no expensive surprises.  They told me it’s in great shape.

I bought the car in 2008 with 126,000 miles on it, crossing my fingers that it would last the four years I was making payments on it.  Now I’d like to see it go as many miles for me as it did for its previous owner.

I love my Prius.  The mileage is fantastic.  (Lately it’s usually “only” been in the high 30s, but I drive in stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50, so that’s actually very good.)  And over the years I’ve had it there have been far fewer expensive surprises than the “cheap” car I owned before it.

And I’m a small person, and I like driving a small car.  A Prius starts with its electric motor, so it always gets a head start at a green light over the cars waiting for their engines to get going.  It also shuts off during a long stop and is lovely and quiet.  This does produce some behavior of trying to get at the front of a line for a red light and hating to be behind trucks.  I also get annoyed with people who inch ahead during a red light.  My engine is off, so I don’t want to move, thank you very much.

But mostly, driving this car makes me happy.  When I bought it, Consumer Reports rated this model high for reliability, and it has been wonderful for me.  May it travel ever onward.

39. My Small Group

My small group started back up, after taking the summer off!  This is a group from church — four couples and me — and we grab some lunch, then meet at my home after church.  We talk about our lives, pray for each other, and discuss and study the Bible, talk about the sermon, or maybe go through a book.

Most of us had a pretty big summer, and it was good to get to see these people I care about and who care about me.

38. I’m a Cybils Judge!

Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-LgFor my fourth year, I get to be a Cybils Panelist!

The Cybils, for those who are sadly unaware, are book awards for children’s and young adult books which are chosen by KidLit bloggers.

One of the cool things about the Cybils is that they work in two rounds.  And the First Round Panelists get to choose lists of the best books in their categories.  These are some great lists of the best books of the year.  The Second Round Judges choose one winner from each of these finalists.

In the past I’ve twice been a First Round Panelist for Elementary and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, and once a Second Round Judge for the same category.  This year, I’m first round again, but I changed categories to Fiction Picture Books.  I feel like this year I took a year off from keeping up with new children’s novels — but I have kept up with picture books pretty well.

And I love being a Cybils Panelist!  It’s so much fun to read widely and then get to promote the outstanding books you read.  And discuss them with the other Panelists.

I’m also proud of the great work we do.  The Cybils Finalists are outstanding!  Cybils Awards try to find a balance between literary value and kid appeal.  We don’t want to choose books that only critics would like, but books that are not only excellent, but also ones that kids will love.

Oh, and the Cybils reading season for First Round lasts from October to December.  Nominations open October 1st, and we will start reading!  Read some good children’s books lately?  Nominate some for the Cybils Awards!

37. Baby Smiles

I did a storytime today at the library.

A 4-month-old baby came with her mother.  She was alert and attentive — and smiled at me over and over again.

There is nothing on earth so happy-making as a Baby Smile.  I can’t help but smile just thinking about it.

36. A New Gaming Group

I was brave tonight!  A few weeks ago, I went to a Splendor tournament at a recently opened games store.  And they were nice people and said they have open board game playing on Tuesday nights.  So today I went — and didn’t know anyone — and played a game of Suburbia (which I have played before, but only once months ago) — and had a great time!

The store is pretty much halfway between my work place and my home, so it’s very convenient to go there after work.  And it did reinforce my belief that Gamers are people I enjoy spending time with.  And I already knew that I enjoy time spent playing games.


35. Making Supper

Now I don’t cook myself supper often.  About once a week.  I did so yesterday — and it was fun.  I tend to resent the time spent when I have to do it often.  So it was nice to realize that it’s a blessing to get to do it now and then.  Fortunately, I have a high tolerance for repetition!

34. A Glorious Day by my Lake


If I count it a blessing every time the weather is wondrous, that’s going to take up a lot of posts.  But since I started the blog afresh recently, I figure it’s okay to indulge in a few raptures on an especially beautiful day when I get to take a walk out in it.

And the great blue heron was there!  And I hounded him until he took off and left — and he did that right when I was snapping a picture.  This picture feels joyous and beautiful to me, and I was so happy to get it!

And I was already happy.  The weather had cooled off.  The sky was glorious!


A lovely cool breeze was blowing.  I mentioned the heron showed up?  And wildflowers of many different kinds were blooming beside the path.


Just an utterly lovely day.


I’ve always figured if you don’t like the weather, try to ignore it.  (Go inside and turn on the air conditioner!)  If you do like it, might as well let it affect your mood!  And today it was exhilarating to go for a walk on such a glorious day.

Thistles   Lake1

33. Family Math Games at the Library

I’m doing a program once a month where I put out a whole lot of board games and card games that build math skills — and ask only that parents play with their kids.

Today, again, it was just beautiful.  25 people came.  Parents were clearly enjoying the time with their kids and kids were learning and having fun both.  And it just did my heart good to see it.

It’s a blessing for me to get to have a small part in touching families in this way.

32. A Lovely Day with a Lovely Friend


Where to even begin with the blessings that happened today?

After I posted about loneliness this week, my dear best-friend-since-3rd-grade Kathe asked if we could get together.  (We always mean to do so more often than we do.)  I’d been thinking that I really should use the Annual Pass to Shenandoah National Park that I bought last September, which expires this September.  And it worked out that we could go together this afternoon.

We got off to a rather late start, but it’s not far, and we didn’t have to hurry.  We did a very short hike to Land’s Run Falls.  It’s also not far from the entrance to the park, so perfect for a late afternoon hike.LandsRun2

The trail takes you to the top of the falls, so I couldn’t get the greatest pictures.  But it was so lovely and peaceful to be walking in the woods, hearing the rushing water, and there with my dear friend.

The leaves were just barely beginning to turn color, but already beautiful.



And of course, always on Skyline Drive, the drive was beautiful, too.


The whole day was simply such a blessing!