149. Cardinals and Blue Jays

I think my neighbor has put up a bird feeder — the neighbor right underneath me. I never felt right about putting one up on my balcony, since it would make a mess below me. This is perfect. The birds perch on the trees outside my window and dive down to the bird feeder. So most days, I get to watch lots of beautiful cardinals and blue jays hanging out in the trees outside my windows.

148. Library Programs

I didn’t post about it at the time, but last week I did two new library programs, and they went great! And that just makes me happy. First, we did a Computer Deconstruction program — kids took apart computers and other electronics. We’d done this before — but under the auspices of TechShop. Except for the last time, when they didn’t show up as scheduled. So this time, we ran it ourselves. We collected the electronics and bought some tiny screwdrivers and went at it! The kids had a great time!

The next day, we did our first Breakout EDU program — We’d bought a set of locks and a box, and looked on their website for an escape room type program to do with them. We did “Attack of the Locks” with a Star Wars theme. We let in a lot of kids — and they had a great time.

And I was so happy to get to bring these great programs to the kids.

147. Cybils Panel

I think I already listed this as a blessing, but now that we’ve finished our work, I want to say again just how much fun it was to be a first round panelist for the 2016 Cybils Awards in the category of Young Adult Speculative Fiction. I’d almost forgotten how much I love reading young adult speculative fiction, and for the last three months, I took extra chunks of time aside to do just that. What a treat!

146. Capitol Choices

I know well that the group of people who are passionate about discussing new children’s books make up a tiny percentage of the population. I’ve found them in other book bloggers. I’ve found them in people who comment on the Heavy Medal mock-Newbery blog and other School Library Journal blogs. I’ve found them among other ALSC members.

But how lucky am I to live where I can meet and talk with such people in person! Capitol Choices is a DC-area based group that chooses 100 of the best children’s and young adult books of the year each year. We meet monthly to discuss the books. Participants are mostly librarians and other children’s book professionals. The discussion uses the same rules (mention strengths of the books first, then observations, then concerns) as ALSC committees.

It’s kind of wild to be around a roomful of like-minded people and get to talk about great books with people who know what they’re talking about and care as much as I do. Lovely!

145. My Life

This morning I spent a few minutes indulging in envy.

Never mind why, except to say that it wasn’t about a person , it was about life — how other people seem to have what I thought my life would be like.

Then the great blue heron flew across my view, with the shining lake behind it. And I gave my thoughts a shaking.

The truth? Despite some hard things, I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else’s.

Besides the fact that it’s my life, doggone it!, I have been blessed by so many things.

I got to live in Germany for 10 years! I wouldn’t trade that away for anything. I loved living there, and it broadened my horizons.

Of course I wouldn’t trade my two wonderful children for anyone else’s children. They didn’t turn out as I expected them to — and they have taught me so much! And they are such wonderful people!

No, I wouldn’t have chosen to go through a divorce — but having been through one has made me a better person — more compassionate, less judgmental (Well, except toward men who have affairs), softer hearted, more reliant on God, more attentive to His voice, and even with a better understanding that I am lovable (Because I was forced to realize that).

If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I wouldn’t have become a librarian, discovered how good it feels to have a career, or even be working full-time. I wouldn’t be standing for Newbery committee.

I wouldn’t live in Northern Virginia near my long-time and newer dear friends. I wouldn’t have joined gaming groups. I wouldn’t have this cozy home by the lake or gotten so many opportunities to take pictures of great blue herons.

And there’s more. But I’ve already come far enough to be smiling.

And to no longer feel like envying anyone.

144. Mom Hugs

One of my friends in my small group from church has the same first name as my Mom, Nancy. She’s also significantly taller than me, and a bit older than me (definitely not close to old enough to be my mother, though). She’s strong, being a former Marine.

My own Mom lives on the other side of the country and is in late-stage Alzheimer’s.

But when Nancy gives me one of her big, wonderful hugs, I feel mothered. Today I got a bunch of Mom Hugs from Nancy, and it did my spirit worlds of good.

142. Moving Juvenile Biographies

Hey, I’m a library geek!

When I came to this library, the adult and juvenile nonfiction was all shelved together. Now I have a branch manager and assistant branch manager who agree with me that it would be nice to separate them. There are so many beautiful children’s nonfiction books designed for browsing, not for reports!

Anyway, this week we finished moving the biographies. (We’re going to save the rest for after Christmas.) Already, we’ve seen kids and parents browsing the new section. I’m happy about this, and happy for the chance to do good work.

141. A Network of Friends

That rare genetic eye disease I mentioned last time? It took me awhile, but I asked some friends to pray for me when it dawned on me that since I live alone, if I don’t tell people, they won’t know what I’m going through.

My pastor sent me an answer that was Spot On what I needed to hear. Here’s part of it:

“1) You are not alone.  I don’t simply mean that in the spiritual-platitude sense, although I do mean it like that as well.  But along with the fact that Jesus really is with you in this, you have built a healthy connection network.  There are many who would be willing to provide company and rides.  Of course, people are so busy you’d have to schedule it and you’d have to distribute it amongst several people – but you have those people, Sondy.  Count Diane and me among that number!”

That was good to hear. I know it’s true. But it was nice to be reminded. And nice to hear.

I have an independent streak. I like doing things for myself. But there are times when it’s good to ask for help. And I definitely have people who will come through for me.

140. Medical Advances

Long story short: I learned last night that what I thought was an annoying result of my stroke is a rare genetic progressive eye disease.

By the end of today, I learned that while the only cure is still surgery (eventually, if it continues to progress) — recently (within the last five years or so) a method has been developed that only takes a few days to recover from, rather than a year (the old method) or a few months (a more recent method) during which you can’t use your eyes.

And it reminds me how tremendously far medicine has come in my lifetime. For example, my Dad’s walking around with 6 stents. Who knows? By the time I’m my mother’s age, we might even have found a cure for Alzheimer’s.

We are blessed to live in this time.