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!



19. My Co-Workers

Today we had a retirement party for one of my co-workers, Lynne Imre.  They don’t come any nicer than Lynne Imre!  And she’s great at her job, too.

And that reminds me how blessed I am with fantastic co-workers working at the library.  I like Library People.  They’re book people; they’re smart (always learning); they’re in a job to help people.

16. Good Counsel

Today my pastor and his wife took me to lunch.  They gave me wise counsel, a listening ear, good advice, and loving support.

I mentioned in my list of good things about living alone, I’ve been experiencing the Empty Nest Blues lately.  These blues are tied in with some other big things happening in my life lately, and also with enduring scars from my divorce.

I so wish I was done with dealing with that.  I also know how to deal with the blues — Strategies include giving thanks and talking with loving, caring people, among other things — but a part of me doesn’t like the weakness that I keep on having to deal with it.

Diane and Ed were kind.  Reminded me that I’ve got plenty of losses to grieve, and grieving is a process.

Also today my cousin posted about her own griefs.  And made a wise statement that sometimes grieving losses and celebrating blessings happens at the same time.

I think that’s part of the trouble I’m having accepting my own grief — It feels ungrateful to have these feelings when I’m so blessed.

But yes, life happens.  Emotions happen in all their riotous confusion.  I could choose to go numb about them all.  But how much better to experience life in all its craziness.  My painful emotions prove I’m still alive, still tenderhearted, still a caring person.

And the most valuable gift my pastor and his wife gave me?  With their time and attention and care and concern, they helped me feel loved and cared for.  And reminded me that indeed I am loved and cared for.

And very blessed.

13. Castles of Mad King Ludwig

NeuschwansteinOkay, I told myself when I restarted this blog that I will focus on being grateful for present blessings.  However, this evening I played the game “Castles of Mad King Ludwig” — and that reminded me of several things I love.

First, I love playing games.  And I love that I have people in my life who also love playing games and that we can get together now and then to do it.  (These are different people than the regular Friday Night Gaming Group I was already thankful for.)

And it’s fun to win every now and then.  And that particular game is fun even if you don’t win, because you get to build a “castle.”  Which is a silly thing to be happy about, but it makes me happy.

And of course that also reminded me how much I love castles, and how blessed I am that I got to visit 167 of them while I lived in Germany, including some Castles of Mad King Ludwig.

It all just made me happy.  I have had and continue to have a wonderful life, with plenty of rather silly blessings.  Life is good.


9. Time with a Friend

Today my friend-since-third-grade Darlene had me over for dinner, since her husband and kids are out of town.  (Okay, that was just a good excuse.)

Darlene’s part of the reason I moved to Virginia.  And I am blessed to have a friend so near who knows me so well and is such a great person.

A couple hours with Darlene, and I’m in a great mood.  There’s something about life-long friends.  🙂

8. My Gaming Group

I’m part of a group of 8 people who play Eurogames every Friday night.

Okay, everybody isn’t there every week, and tonight it was just two of us.  But most of us are there most weeks.  And I love doing it!

I never needed to find a gaming group — until my youngest son headed off to college.  Before that, I could always play at home — first with my brothers and sisters, then with my kids.

While we lived in Germany for ten years, I got super excited about Eurogames.  You can just buy fantastic games in Wal-Mart-type-stores in Germany!  One of my favorite activities before I realized I could find the translations on the Internet was practicing my German by translating game rules.

But first my husband left.  Then one by one, my sons moved out.  I didn’t have anyone to play games with.  Yes, I could have gone online.  But I already have solitaire puzzle games I play online.  The fun of board games and card games is playing with actual people.

So my co-worker invited me to a group that plays on Saturdays, and I finally got around to going.  Eventually an opening came up in the Friday night group.  I love it!  I really enjoy games and really enjoy playing them.  And it’s fun exercising my brain among smart people.  (They are mostly better than me at games, but I win just often enough to feel like I’m not deadweight.)  And, yes, it’s fun to be around men again.  (Only one of the other gamers is a woman.)  It reminds me of playing games with my brothers or my math brothers (fellow math majors in college).  Now that I work as a librarian, a field dominated by women, I don’t get that as much.

But, funny thing.  This summer, I got to play games with some of my brothers — and it reminded me of playing games with my gaming group!  So I feel like it’s an important part of my life now.

Bottom line, I’m so glad I have a regular outlet when I get to go play games with other people who enjoy it as much as I do.

4. My Friends

It seems inadequate to list my friends as a group — each individual who has touched my life is a huge blessing to me.

Having lived many different places, I have an abundance of friends in my life, collected from all over the world.

And that is a huge blessing.

I can’t adequately cover how much my friendships mean to me, so I’ll simply say that you are a blessing to me.

3. My Church

I’m restarting my list of blessings after Yahoo ate my whole blog.  But that’s okay — because I’m trying to make it things I’m thankful for in the present.

And today, I have to count my church, Gateway Community Church.

I moved to Virginia to go to this church!

Well, sort of.  My two friends-since-third-grade who lived in Herndon both attended Gateway.  I visited them at least three times over the years when I lived in Germany and attended their church and thought how much I wished there were a church like that near me.

My ex-husband and I had trouble finding a church home after we left Los Angeles.  Gateway is neither so big that you never see the same people two weeks in a row nor so small that the same people end up having to take care of the kids every week, or if one family’s gone, the whole Sunday School is thrown off.  I like that Gateway’s focused around small groups — that way you really get to know and care about people behind the Sunday morning façade.

So when my husband left me and I had to leave Germany, I got to pick where in the States I wanted to go.  I picked Virginia because my two dear friends lived there — and because I wanted to attend Gateway.  It also met at the time in a brand-new middle school, and my son was starting 7th grade, and attended that middle school.

But Gateway people themselves won me over and took me in.  They helped me move three times — starting with that first time when my household goods came from Germany (mostly taken apart and broken) — when the people in my group didn’t actually know me yet.  They won my heart by their kindness in taking care of me.

And over the years, Gateway folks got me through the actual divorce.  They stood by my side while I was trying to stand for my marriage but also helped me see clearly when it was time to actually get divorced.  They love me and care about me and make Virginia feel like home.

Oh, and I also love that Gateway doesn’t make me sign a statement of faith to join.  Today we signed up some new people, and they ask if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior (which I have), but from there you decide if you want to join this community.

Folks at Gateway do “spur one another on to love and good deeds” and point each other to Christ.

I’m so blessed to be a part of this church community.