Take Joy

Take Joy

I can hear you now. “Why is she posting about a Christmas book in August?”

Well, you may not want to know the weird ways my mind works, but I had one of those weeks this past week. You know, one of those that makes you think.

I love this book. First, because it was a gift from our dearest friends, Erica and Karen. Second, because I love Tasha Tudor. Third, because it’s such a lovely reminder of the homely things that Christmas should be about. That every day should be about.

 

We’ve had a weird summer. Much wetter and rainier than normal. I really can’t complain. We’ve been so lucky – no floods like other parts of the east have experienced. No drought and wildfires like they’re dealing with out west. But it’s been rainy enough that I haven’t been able to do the things I thought I would be doing this summer. I took my birthday off from work, thinking to play golf, but it rained. Other weekends when we thought we might take day trips here or there, it rained.

The upside has been that we’ve managed to clean out closets and clear (most of) the clutter from the office. But it hasn’t exactly been fun.

On Thursday, I took a last day off before classes begin for the fall. I waited to make a tee time until I was reasonably certain the forecast would be favorable. It turned into kind of a magical day.

It was a perfect summer morning – pleasantly warm and sunny. The golf course had a few people out, but I got to play alone. That’s one of my favorite things about golfing. I love playing by myself. It’s great thinking time. And the course I was playing is beautiful. Even the neighboring cows were hanging out, enjoying the day. I played well, too, which was a bonus!

Glopida cows

I finished in time to get home and have lunch with Beth. We used to have lunch at home together every day for almost fifteen years before I took my current job. It was so nice to have that time together in the middle of the day.

After Beth went back to work, I wrote a bit and spent some time with the dogs. Hermione and Maxwell always know how to live in the moment. Well, Hermione does. Maxwell is usually looking for something to bark at.

H sun1

Hermione, loving the sunshine

Part of the afternoon was spent playing my guitar. I have a new Taylor 514, but my old 1981 Yamaha L10-A has a rich sound that the new guitar just can’t match. I pulled out old music – you know actual folk music like Blowing In The Wind, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Danny Boy. I love those songs, and it was funny how my fingers remembered them, too.

I have a couple of friends who have dealt with some really difficult life situations. One’s wife has been battling cancer for over fifteen years. It keeps cropping up in new places, but they keep fighting. The other’s husband has a progressive disease that has robbed him of almost all of his mobility. She manages a team of caregivers, and the logistics of any trip they plan make my head hurt. All of this for both of them on top of their own careers.

I mentioned once to one of them that I felt guilty about how easy our lives have been in comparison: both of us with good jobs, good health for us and our families, no real worries.

She said something I think of often. “Don’t feel guilty about it. Just don’t forget to be grateful.”

I thought of her words as I enjoyed every minute of my magical day.

I thought of them again when I returned to work yesterday. A patient I had seen earlier in the week with suspicious symptoms and weird CT results was thankfully being worked up for probable spine surgery before something catastrophic could happen.

I wish all of you the joy of being able to live in the moment – even if it’s just a moment. We never know when things could change. Take Joy!

Tasha1

 

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Pax Tecum 2017

“Pax tecum”… Peace be with you

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That phrase has been my Christmas message on this blog for the past few years. I was torn about whether to use it this year, because I haven’t been feeling very peaceful. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry for such an extended period of time.

It, of course, began last year after the election, and it has only continued. If anything, it has increased as we’ve witnessed this administration’s systematic barrage against every human value the majority of us hold dear. We’ve watched them alienate our allies around the world and attack people of color, immigrants, the LGBT community, non-Christians (I should make that non-evangelical Christians), science, the environment.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we all should be angry. This kind of anger sustains us as we protest and call our representatives, as we march and demand answers from our government, as we try to hold this administration accountable to us, the citizens of this country, the majority of whom did not vote for the current occupant of the White House.

My partner and I have never watched the news so obsessively. We’ve never spent so much time and energy following politics, and there have been a lot of sleepless nights over this past year. I was starting to feel as if something was wrong with us. And then I found this blog by pastor John Pavlovitz (HERE) that let me know we’re certainly not alone. I swear, if we lived closer to him, I’d belong to a church again.

But this is also a season that is supposed to be a season of hope, of peace, of reflection. All of those things have been in short supply lately. I’ve had to actively look for them. Maybe you have, too.

We can’t not stay current on what’s happening in the news. If we look away for even a few days, it feels as if more of our freedoms are being yanked out from under us. But in my reading, in my writing, in my on-line presence, I’m choosing to focus on stories of kindness, of people doing good things. I’m going to remember to cherish the time I’ve got with my partner and our crazy dogs and extended family. I’m sending more Christmas cards this year to do a bit better at staying in touch with friends.

Posted below are the links to two songs that mean a lot to me. Enjoy. And I wish for all of you – whether you’re celebrating Chanukah, looking forward to the Solstice, or getting ready for Christmas – peace and joy. For now. But don’t forget to stay angry, keep fighting, don’t give up!

 

I’m Guesting on Women & Words!

Hey everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that I am being hosted today over at Women & Words. For my musings on “It Was The Best of Times…” please go check it out! I’m giving away a signed paperback of Neither Present Time to a commenter on the blog, so please chime in if you would like. Even if you already have the book, I would welcome your comments.

Have a great week!

Caren