31. Getting to be a Part of Changing Lives

Today a big blessing happened when I was working on the desk in the Virginia Room.

She wanted to know if Thomas Jefferson Library was the same library that had once been located in a townhouse in Jefferson Village Apartments.

I told her I’d call her back, and ended up finding the information quickly in a book on the history of the first 50 years of Fairfax County Public Library.

Yes, Thomas Jefferson library started in the back of a barber shop and moved to an apartment in Jefferson Village Apartments in 1954.  They used every part of the apartment.  There was a picture of bookshelves in the bathtub!  In 1962, they moved into a more traditional library building.

But the heart-warming part came when I called the lady back.  She said that library in Jefferson Village Apartments was a “life-saver” and made a huge difference in her life.  She started going on and on about what good work we do in libraries.  (I think she’s going to be arranging to give money to Thomas Jefferson Library.)  It was a nice little reminder that libraries change lives and sent me on the rest of my day smiling.

30. Connecting People with Good Books

I was just reminding myself of bright spots in my day — and remembered a huge blessing.  A woman walked up to me at the information desk and asked me for recommendations for something to read next.  My favorite question!  And it sounded like we have fairly similar taste.  It was very fun to get to give her recommendations.  I suggested a wide variety, with such titles as Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, by Farahad Zama, and Q & A, by Vikas Swarup.  It was a joy just to get to talk about good books.

29. An Abundance of Books

This is such an obvious one!  And I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet.

I have an overflowing abundance of books in my life — both books I own and books I can borrow from the library, my workplace.

And one of my very favorite things to do is read!

So this is a wonderful combination!

In fact, “So many books, so little time…” is my perpetual cry.  I have more books, simply checked out, than I can possibly get read.  Don’t even think about the books I own.  (And I usually only buy a book if I really want to read it.)

But this is a wonderful problem to have.  My cup runneth over.

27. My Own Personal Retreat Center


I’ve had some trouble with the Empty Nest Blues lately.  And the truth is, though it’s ticked off by my son starting his last semester of college, it’s exacerbated by the fact that I live alone.  I had always thought this would be something my husband and I would face together.  So it makes the pain of the divorce fresh.

But the other day I started reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation, and another book I started reading reminded me of how I’ve heard of people who take a personal retreat and spend time at a monastery — and I’ve always thought that would be a wonderful thing to do.

But then it occurred to me — I’ve got a Personal Retreat Center right where I live!  I’ve got a lake view, a path by the lake to walk, a balcony, a library of books around me, music of my choice, and all the solitude I could possibly want.  If such a place had been available to me when I was a busy mother of little ones, I would have fainted with thankfulness!

It also reminds me of I Corinthians 7.  A married woman or man spends time and energy trying to please her or his spouse.  An unmarried woman can focus on trying to please the Lord.

I do want to find a partner who wants to please the Lord.  But it’s better to be single than to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t.

And meanwhile, it helps my attitude to realize what a wonderful opportunity I’ve been given for all the prayer and contemplation and reading and writing I could possibly want to do.

Who knows, maybe that reflection will help me keep from spending too much time playing mindless computer games!

26. Grown Kids

Today I represented the library at a Back to School Fair at a middle school.

And while I really enjoyed the middle school kids with their excitement and energy, and while I really enjoyed my own kids when they were in middle school — I was struck by how glad I am that I am no longer the Mom of middle school or high school kids!

This is a nice realization — lately, with my youngest starting his very last semester of college, I’ve had a little trouble with the Empty Nest Blues.

But I was reminded of all the stress of middle school — meeting all the various teachers, buying supplies, this, that, and the other detail to worry about….

Yes, I got through it, and I do look back on those years fondly.

But we are done with that!  That season of life is over, and now I can smile fondly on those still going through it and tell them about all the ways the library can help them.

There are some lovely things about this phase of life, and this was a nice reminder.

25. The Great Blue Heron


I already was thankful for my lake.  Part of what I love about my lake is that at least one great blue heron likes to hang out there.

I say “at least one” because there were at least two times when I saw one heron at one end of the lake and one heron at the other.  Usually there’s only one at a time, and I like to pretend it’s the same one, but I’m not observant enough to be sure.

When I first looked at the house, my realtor liked to run on the trail by this lake.  She told me an egret lived at the lake and told me a touching story that egrets mate for life and if the mate dies, they will continue to nest where they were last together with their partner.


Well, I’ve looked it up since then, and that story is bogus.  Great blue herons do not mate for life.  But the fact is, herons and egrets do like to hang out at this lake, and it never ceases to give me a thrill.  In fact, when I go too long without seeing one, I start going through heron withdrawal.

So last Friday on my day off, when I went for my usual walk and saw the heron posing on the wall by the fountains, I turned right around and went back for my good camera.



So, the romantic story may be bogus.  But I still feel completely blessed by my lake and the birds who enjoy it.