Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

We're in a phase (well, more precisely *I'm* in a phase) where the weeks fly by and the blog sits quiet. I make food--even shareable food, lately. I have thoughts, ideas, inspiration--some of them even worth sharing, maybe. But. Then. It doesn't happen. Life goes whirling by and I wish for more hours in the day...

The Friday habit, however, appears unbreakable. Famous last words, I know. It does seem, though, that when Friday night rolls around, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, whatever the week has held, I'm able to pause, breathe, reflect, appreciate. And I'm grateful for that. For the habit and what it brings into my life.

This week was a wild one, with work-work and a heavy dose of volunteer work, and then leaving for a few days to visit my parents in warmth. It definitely felt like a giant zoom, whoosh, splat. Well, the splat might be a bit dramatic. We've landed in sunshine, with some peace and quiet and laughter and good food and (maybe) a bit of relaxation. Given that today held more activity than either husband or I have had in quite some time--those desk jobs, even with stand-up desks,  don't exactly provide much of a work out--we will hold out that relaxation will come tomorrow.

I'm grateful for my parents; first, that they're still on this planet, alive and healthy. I'm grateful for their spirit of adventure, for their shared aesthetic sense--not that they have the same one, but that aesthetics are important to them both, for their love for each other and their family, and for their willingness and ability to laugh!

We saw some really interesting natural beauty today (check out my Instagram feed, I'll keep posting there), lots of scrub brush and cacti and all kinds of prickly, wild things. There's definitely a beauty in the landscape around Tucson, but it's also a little ugly (to me). I'm a Pacific Northwest girl at heart, apparently. Give me forests and trees, oceans, rivers, fields and meadows... I definitely saw things today that made me stop and say, "cool, wow, different," but it all feels pretty foreign. Go figure. I am grateful for the diversity in this country, even if it pushes my comfort zone.

We have excellent house-sitting help while we're away, for which I am ever-so-grateful (I feel the need to post that for the robber-types that troll my blog, ha ha). The pups are well looked after, too. That eases my mind, even as a big winter storm is supposed to roll through. Husband said to me tonight (he knows me so well, sweet man), "I'm sorry we're going to miss snow." That made me laugh, as he said that completely for my benefit. I am the first to say that I need to see snow to really feel like I've had a winter, but now that we've had it, I've seen it, I've even skiied in it, I'm good. I was in heaven today, in shirt sleeves, wandering around in the sun, feeling my freckles pop out. (What insanity is it that still makes me believe that "just a little sun" is fine, no sunscreen for me, thanks? It's skin cancer insanity, that's what. But a little sun on my cheeks makes me happy!)

Technology always makes my grateful list, even if I don't always articulate it. Being able to connect from afar, to work or to loved ones (Seth!), makes all the difference in the world. Texts, Skype, whatever = yeah!

Tonight I will be grateful for sleep. Nothing like a bunch of activity to bring out the sleepiness in me! I'm grateful for a cozy spot to lay my head, and not too much on the agenda for tomorrow. I hope wherever you are tonight, it's cozy there too! (And not much on the agenda for tomorrow!)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

I am very happy to have arrived at Friday night again. As I very often say--I haven't been this happy to see Friday, since last Friday!

The week held a lot--a lot of work, a little fun (lunches and even a brief coffee with girlfriends), some relaxation (evenings with House of Cards, I'm done now so you can't spoil it for me) and helping with a volunteer luncheon that's happening next week. I am so looking forward to the next 24 hours of family chill time, I can't even tell you.

But first, let's dance.

I had an interesting conversation this week with a colleague/friend about religion. I came home and was reminded of this piece with Bono, talking about grace and karma. (From the book: Bono.)

Here's a tidbit (it's hard for me to not share the whole thing... do click over to the link above):

“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…

“You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it...

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that 'As you reap, so will you sow' stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff...

“If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. All I do is get up on the Cross of the Ego; the bad hangover, the bad review. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my shit and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was he just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”

For all I smile to myself about Bono (as in, wow does he take himself seriously), I really appreciate those words. Anytime I seem to get myself in trouble, I can usually look at the Cross of the Ego, and sure enough, there's me. :) I am very grateful for grace.

A weekend ritual for me is listening to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. I am very grateful for people who will consume large quantities of pop culture so I don't have to. Well, more to the point, I'm glad they make recommendations, so I don't have to waste my time! These people are funny, and I love how I feel like I know them after listening for a couple/few years.

I am so ready for springtime cooking and springtime eating. I've over Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. So over. I'm ready for green little shoots in the garden, for salads picked minutes before being gobbled up, for flowers and sunshine and asparagus and salad onions, with the hope of a long summer FULL of gorgeous, local produce. I am ready! I made arugula pesto this week and ate it three nights in a row. Yes, three. It was *that* good.

Being tucked in here at home with all my men (which sounds a little weird until you consider that both the dogs are boys too--I'm surrounded!), the fire is on and I'm feeling cozy. I feel blessed to have a husband and a son who are so communicative. As we all caught up on our weeks tonight, my gratitude for them both made me smile and appreciate, so much, all that we share together.

I hope you are feeling tucked in and cozy too, and the weekend ahead brings joy.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Oh the joys of Valentine's Day falling on/near the weekend! What a lovely way to crash-land into some rest and relaxation.

A little fondue for two, followed by chocolate mousse and chatting by the fire. Really, what could be better?

Tonight, and every night, I am grateful for love. I'm grateful for second chances and I'm grateful for acceptance--being accepted and doing the accepting.

There's a quote on the wall in my Grandma's bedroom that I did up in calligraphy for her, sometime in college. While we might quibble about what is old love, I appreciate the sentiment. In many ways our love still feels new, and I'm grateful for that. But then a lot of days it seems like we've been together forever, so old love seems appropriate!

New love is silver, wait for the west
Old love is gold love, old love is best.

I love our old love, husband. I am grateful for you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Midweek reminder: My need of God absolutely clear

Absolutely clear
Don’t surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God

-Hāfez (1325–1390)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

I am finally warming up on this very cold Friday night. Sweat pants, Costanza-style, a sweater and two blankets, roaring fire and two sweet pups snuggled close. And still my feet were little ice blocks (well, large-ish ice blocks, if we're really honest) until not too long ago. Now I've reached the warm state, I may just have to stay here all night! Moving and cooling off while getting into bed? Much less appealing.

It's been a while since I've written a proper grateful list, and I feel ready. Ha. It's not often that I'm NOT in the mood to write my gratitude down, but if you have followed this blog for any period of time, you know I struggle with keeping it fresh, either in form or in content... Five years has added up a lotta gratitude.

Tonight I am grateful for warmth. For all the items I listed above, and then some. Warm fleecy socks and flannel sheets. Hot tea, cocoa, coffee, soup... any liquid that warms all the way through. For blankets that have not just function, but also sentiment from years of use.

Today, post-snow--or maybe more accurately, mid-snow, as another storm is purported to be on the way--we had a sun break. What a glorious sun break it was! Blue skies and glistening snowy fields, blindingly beautiful. I was so grateful for the blue skies, I happily squinted all the way to lunch and back.

The clouds came back mid-day and by the time I headed home the mountains were truly blue. They're called the Blue Mountains, but most days I rather scoff at the name--not just because they're more "hills" to me than mountains, but because they're not often blue--usually green or tan or brown. Tonight they were BLUE. The whole valley was blue with the setting sun--no streams of gold this evening, just a deepening blue.

It was a banner week for friendship. Old, older still, and resumed. Today over lunch I enjoyed the company of a dear friend who I have not seen nearly enough of the past year or so. I have missed her wit, warmth and heart. So good to pick back up and share our lives together over yummy Thai. I am grateful for friendship, for the kind that *can* pick back up and resume, and understand.

And to my regulars, my girls of the monthly lunch brigade, I was grateful to enjoy a lunch together this week--where deep thoughts on aging were shared. Of course, there was conversation around jobs and kids and spouses. But the deep stuff we saved for aging. Oy. We're getting old. Old-ish, anyway.

I had an old friend--not old, but from long ago--visit this week, too. (Crazy busy friend week, see, I told you!). Karen and I met at college in Australia, in 1987. Reconnected via Facebook a couple of years ago, and she happened to be in the U.S. for a conference and general month abroad. Walla Walla was a quick jaunt for her from Seattle, and we enjoyed a brief 48-hour visit. I inflicted all manner of non-touristy but very "real life" moments: grocery shopping for an event at work next week. Yes, you read that right: groceries. Supply procurement. Not the best hostess, am I? Sigh. She claimed to enjoy it, and we chatted the whole time, so... what can I say, life has to happen, right?! (And the pups fell in love with her, of course, see below!)

We had some fun little walks down memory lane, about people and places from a very very long time ago. My memories of Australia are all quite lovely, and it was fun to relive a few with her.

I'm grateful for our community; for people who reach out to others in times of need, with warmth and shelter and a safe place.

Tonight I'm especially grateful for the peaceful time ahead, the next 24 hours of rest and relaxation, worship and thought and praise.

I'm thankful that Seth is home, safely (never take for granted safety with snow + teenage driver + other drivers!), for the week. Our time together is so precious.

For my husband I am always grateful--for his love and thoughtfulness, for his hard work and dedication, for his kind ways with all the odd things and thoughts I throw his way. We are blessed to have love. And doubly blessed to know it.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you are blessed and know it, too.


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