91. Prayer on the Church Property

Our church is building a building, a community resource center.

Some obstacles have come up, and this afternoon my small group met on the church property to pray, along with the pastor and his wife and another friend.

And it was beautiful.  In so many ways.

The weather was beautiful.  The sun was shining through spring-green new leaves.  A breeze was blowing.  We were in the woods, with little flowers blooming on the forest floor.

But it was also so beautiful to pray in harmony with others.  Jesus promised that when two or three of you gather together, He’ll be there with you, and we could feel His presence.

“We will shout for joy when you are victorious

and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.”

— Psalm 20:5

87. Easter with Family-away-from-family

I love Easter.  And I do believe that Jesus’ resurrection means we should listen to His words.

After a lovely Easter service at church, my son and I went to my friend’s house.

I have known this friend, Darlene, since 3rd grade.  And when I moved to Virginia almost 10 years ago now, I and my two kids, then 12 and 18, lived in Darlene’s basement for six weeks.  Darlene’s kids were 2 and 4.

Darlene has invited us over many times in the years that followed.  Today my youngest son, who is now 21 and a college graduate, and I went over for Easter dinner.  Darlene’s kids are almost-12 and just-turned-14.  Her oldest is considerably taller than me now.

And having dinner with them felt like being with family.  Darlene’s husband Matt talked with my son about the challenges of finding a job.  I think it was helpful for my son, but was done in a friendly way and not at all a patronizing way.

And we did lots of eating and lots of talking and taught one of our favorite games to them and just had a lovely time.

There’s something extra special about knowing people — the whole family — over time.

My “real” family is on the west coast.  But I still have family here.

And that’s a blessing.

56. Adult Friends

Seeing my son over Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful — and then the Empty Nest Blues hit again.

Part of adjusting to my youngest son growing up and becoming an adult and planning to move out — is the whole question of what value and worth do I have as a single woman, living alone?  I didn’t realize how much of my value I placed in being part of a family — until that’s not there.

And I’m also having to deal with just plain loneliness.  I’m an introvert — so it’s a bit of a paradox.  I love having alone time.  But then when I have a whole day where I only see a few strangers at the haircut place — it’s tempting to fall into loneliness.

Last Monday, when I was missing my son, and had hurt my back that morning — I tried to straighten my Christmas tree and utterly failed, ending up trying to hold up the tree for twenty minutes while trying to readjust it so it wouldn’t fall over.  And I got to feeling sorry for myself, since that was something my ex-husband used to take care of.  And I felt all the more alone.

All that’s the background.  Today was a day that should combat loneliness for at least a week.  Today was full of friends — and friends I’ve made because of who I am, totally apart from my kids and all but one of whom don’t even know my ex-husband.  These are people who know me and who like me — and knowing whom brings me lots of joy.

First was church — an excellent and uplifting sermon, followed by getting to talk with good friends.

Then my small group met at my house — and one of the men brought a small saw (I’d asked) and cut off branches as needed and straightened my tree beautifully!  Yes, my small group is made up of people from church, but as it happens these are different people from the friends I’d already talked to at church.  We talked in depth about what’s going on in our lives.  They love me and are looking out for me, and the whole group means so much to me!

Then I went to an open house of some friends who just finished remodeling — and saw yet more friends from church.  Again, it was a different group from the people I’d already talked to, mostly from a small group I used to be part of — but more wonderful people I really care about, just enjoying being together.

And I finished up the day with a group who like to play games, and we played three games of Dominion and I just enjoy that so much.  This group I became part of when I was dating one of the men (the other two men are there with their wives).  We broke up, but they let me stay part of the group, and it turns out these are all people I love to hang out with, and they like to play one of my very favorite games, and it’s just become a great part of my life.

So, yeah, I’m not feeling lonely today.

Instead, I feel abundantly blessed.

55. Thanksgiving

I’m so thankful for the Thanksgiving holiday!

A whole day set aside for giving thanks.  The awesome thing about Thanksgiving is it can be celebrated by people of every religion.  Even atheists can think of the other people in their lives to whom they can be grateful.

I also like the way Thanksgiving has traditionally become a time to celebrate the people in our lives whom we love.

A wise person has said that gratitude helps you live in the present.  When you’re being thankful, you’re not obsessing over or regretting the past.  You’re not worrying about the future.  You’re remembering that right now, this moment, you have something to be thankful for.

What a blessing!

49. My Church Community

Today my pastor preached a dynamic message, which tied closely with things I’d been thinking about.  And then friends both after church and at my small group, discussed those things, and in general gave me great emotional support.

Being part of a Community of Christ-followers is such a blessing.  I’ve had some emotional issues come up in my life lately.  And not everyone in my church or small group necessarily thinks exactly the same way as I do about these issues.  But they care about me, help me think things through, pray for me, and in general make me feel loved and supported.

They make me feel that we’re walking this life together.  And that’s a beautiful thing, and such a blessing.

44. KidLitCon 2015

I spent Friday and Saturday at KidLitCon in Baltimore!

KidLitCon is a yearly conference for children’s book bloggers.  The location rotates, so this year with it in driving distance — I had to go!  This was my fourth KidLitCon, and again it was such a treat to be with “my people” — people who love children’s books as much as I do!

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.

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.

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.