190. My Pretty, Pretty Prius

In January 2008, I bought a 2002 Prius with 126,000 miles on it. I hoped it would last long enough for me to pay what I borrowed to buy it – and it has lasted long past that.

Now it has more than 224,000 miles on it. Earlier this year, I brought it in after I knocked off the driver-side mirror, and later when a warning light went off. Both times, I ended up paying more than $1000 for other problems they found.

So today it was with much trepidation that I brought it in for a state inspection and servicing. The only thing they found was that a tail light was out! It only cost me $134.

It still gets around 40 miles per gallon, and is such a wonderful car. Now I hope it will keep running until I can pay down my debt enough to be able to afford a new one. That may take awhile! But meanwhile, I’m so thankful for my little car!

188. Gateway Community Church Grand Opening

My church has opened our new building! It’s a community resource center, and we’re having a Grand Opening celebration all weekend long.

I just spent my evening there, and enjoyed good talks with a series of individuals, some of whom I knew, and some of whom I didn’t know at all. And part of the time, I stood on the balcony and stared at the sunset.

God is going to do great things there!

185. A Continuing Education Scholarship

Tonight I received a check in the mail to cover my attendance at the January 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALSC Mini-institute! Since I charged the trip to credit cards, it will be so lovely to pay them off.

And the trip was fantastic – and probably the crucial thing that got me elected to the 2019 Newbery Award committee, because I asked many people there to vote for me.

184. Total Solar Eclipse

Yes, I got to travel to South Carolina and stay with a friend – and I got to see the Total Solar Eclipse today!

Now, I got to see one in 1999 in Germany – but clouds covered the sun a few *seconds* before it went total. That time, we got to see darkness, and we got to see the partial eclipse leading up to totality. But we didn’t actually get to see the moon covering the sun.

This time, I did – and it was incredible! Awe-inspiring and wonderful.

Mind you, there was a cloud right next to the sun just before it went total – and I was SO afraid it would happen again! But no! I really got to see it! The sun’s corona around the moon was amazing.

I’m so thankful I got to see it!

183. My Blogs Restored

Last week, when updating a blog post – two of my blogs crashed. It looked like I might lose all of Project 52 – the year-long project where I’d written the story of my life.

I’m very thankful that – after two messages saying it was fixed when it wasn’t – my web hosting company was able to restore the blogs to the week before the problem happened.

So I’ve got it all back – and I made an extra copy of Project 52.

And I have new appreciation for my blogs.

174. Sky Meadows State Park

I checked out one of the Nature Backpacks from Fairfax County Public Library – which included a free pass to any Virginia State Park.

The two closest state parks are Sky Meadows and Mason Neck. I checked weather, and Sky Meadows was 5 degrees cooler today. Unfortunately, I failed to realize that at Mason Neck, I probably wouldn’t have hiked up a mountainside in direct sunlight. But anyway, I had a lovely time, got a major workout, did not get heatstroke, and lost a lot of weight in the form of sweat!

But – it was a beautiful time! I hope to return – in Autumn or Spring or maybe even Winter.

169. 48-Hour Reading Challenge

I had a week off, and thought I’d finish up with one of my favorite things to do – a 48-Hour Reading Challenge.

I got the idea from Mother Reader, years ago. I admit, it’s more fun when you join people from all over the internet doing it at the same time, but I didn’t plan enough in advance.

In the 48 hours from Friday morning at 8:00 am to Sunday morning at 8:00 am, I managed to read and review for 29 hours and 5 minutes.

I finished 7 books in that time, 4 of them started from the beginning.
I wrote reviews of 10 books, writing 5,466 words.
I posted 3 reviews.

I figure next year, when I’m on the Newbery committee, I’ll need to do this much more often! (Without taking time to post reviews!)

But in the meantime, it was a lot of fun.

168. My First Personal Annual Spiritual Retreat

Back in February, a friend pointed me to an exercise where you visualize what you’d like your life to be like 10 years in the future. You try to describe a typical day in great detail.

Somewhat to my surprise, Future Sondy was booking her Annual Personal Spiritual Retreat on the Isle of Iona for that springtime! In other years, she’d gone to places like Prince Edward Island and Mont St. Michel.

I got to thinking that Present Sondy should start this habit! But I don’t have any money for a fabulous place like that. But I realized that my own home is a nice place for a retreat. After all, I’ve got a lake view. So I looked on the library schedule for a time when I could take a week off, and chose the first week of May.

It’s been lovely, if not as peaceful as the Isle of Iona would be!

I did take some time for cleaning – hard to avoid if you’re staying home. But these last two days, I’m taking a 48-Hour Book Challenge and getting lots of books read and reviews written.

I also worked on Project 52, and got this week’s post done in one day, instead of stretching it out over three or four posts. And the week I finished was about the year when my divorce was finally final. And that felt good.

Then I found this verse. With that timing – finishing thinking through the hard years – I’d like to take this as my theme for the year – until my next personal spiritual retreat.

Song of Solomon 2:10-12

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come.”

Here’s to a season of singing!