Friday’s Fave Five – October 11, 2019

Friday’s Fave Five is a weekly meme that some of us respond to. Each week we look for the blessings in life. Sometimes they are huge and life-changing. More often, however, they are small, readily available, and commonplace. We look for and share these blessings because to do so forms us into people of gratitude. Below are five of my blessings from this past week.

ONE. Bible Study/Potluck. Every once in a while, our senior’s Bible Study invites me to attend the last study of that series and for a potluck. I had the privilege of attending such a class this past week; although it wasn’t the last study. They are studying the book of Mark. I enjoyed answering and listening to their answers as we grappled with tough topics such as divorce, having faith like a child, and living for God first (and not for our stuff, relationships, passions, etc). I am grateful there is a place for seniors to continue growing in Biblical wisdom and that they/we can share in a safe place. I am grateful that growing in wisdom is something they/we value.

TWO. Graduation Party. Awhile back I mentioned that my daughter finished her online, self-taught braille transcribing course that took 19 months to complete. We had the graduation party for her this past week. I am grateful my daughter has the tenacity to finish what she sets her mind to. Since I can’t drive or do much (because of still dealing with healing a shoulder), I needed the help of others. I am grateful for the family and friends who helped make this grad party a reality.

THREE. Book Club. At our October church women’s book club, we talked about Kisses from Katie. It was a universal favorite. … We were amazed at Katie’s trust in God, energy, huge love, wisdom, and willingness to take the first step to each big endeavor. … We talked about what/where our Uganda is. … In case you don’t know, by the age of 22, Katie had adopted 13 girls from Uganda which is where she made her new home (Brentwood, TN is her birthplace). … Have you read this book? If yes, what is your reaction?

FOUR. Hot tub/pool. My apartment is right by the hot tub. And while it isn’t really very HOT, it does help my arm when I soak in it. I have gone there 4 times this past week. And then I walked in the pool, twice. It is so COLD. But I think the cold water is therapy for my arm. At least that’s what I tell myself, that COLD water is helping reduce the inflammation. I am grateful for these free and easy ways to support the healing of my arm.

FIVE. Decluttering.  I have been wanting to get back into decluttering and frustrated because I cannot work very long. Then I finally decided to just do 10 minutes at a time. I am decluttering one place at home and one place at work (I changed offices and need to finish getting rid of items from my old office). While it is slow work, I am seeing progress. I am grateful that I’ve given myself permission to go slowly. And I am grateful that going slowly is still progress.

Also, a friend, Theresa, has taken on the project of cleaning out and reorganizing some areas at church. Theresa put about 10 hours into these projects. I am grateful for how spacious it all looks and how easy it is to find what we need. And I am grateful for my friend who likes to organize and that she had this time available.

Your Turn . . . Want to share your gratitude list? Link up here or leave a comment below.

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Fridat’s Fave Five – October 4, 2019

This quote is from the book, Thank You Power: Making the Science of Gratitude Work For You.

This week I am choosing to see the events in my life as gifts. Reading books about gratitude, such as Thank You Power by Deborah Norville, remind me to view life this way. The quote to the left is from Norville’s book.

Below are some gifts I received this week.

ONE. Birthday Party. Friendships are certainly gifts. This week I got to join a host of others in celebrating a friend’s 80th birthday. It was memorable recounting some of the ways Jeanne has blessed me and my family. And it was good to be reminded of how much fun and comfort she exudes.

I am om the doorstep of the Muir/Strenzel Home. I didn’t know my daughter was going to take and then post THIS photo. 🙂

TWO. Bodywork/John Muir tour. I am getting relief and healing by seeing Matt at The Open Matt, where I receive bodywork. His gentle expertise is enhanced by his ability to listen and teach.

While my daughter and I were in the Bay Area, we visited John Muir’s home in Martinez. It was interesting to tour his home and then the family gravesite. The ranger guides were lively and full of great information. My daughter was in heaven learning more info about Yosemite (where she lived for 18 months).

THREE. PEP Team Meeting. Once a month, this team gathers to tighten plans for upcoming PEP (senior) events. In October we have a potluck (Football Tailgate party theme) and a movie. Dunkirk. In Novemberm we are going to a Candlelight Tour at Sutter’s Fort. In December, we’ll finish our year with a catered Christmas dinner. The youth are our servers and clean up.

I am grateful for this fun and interesting group of ladies to plan with.

FOUR. Facebook Chat. I have a high school friend who lives in Saskatoon. We graduated together from 12th grade in Alberta, Canada. We try to talk at least once a month. This time we talked via FaceTime because I didn’t have messenger installed on my cell phone. I enjoyed hearing some of the highlights from her recent trip to Ireland. I am grateful for this long term friendship.

FIVE. PT Consult. While the majour pain in my shoulder is much less, I am still having pain. My physical therapist wants me to get an MRI to rule out other issues. I’ll let you know how that progresses. I am grateful for Heidi because she is a comforting presence and is teaching me how to strengthen/heal my arm. And she is teaching me how to advocate for myself. Thanks, Heidi.

Now it is your turn to share your “gifts” from last week, either in the comment section or on your own post. You can link up here. 

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Friday’s Fave Five – September 27, 2019

Friday is here and it’s time to recount five blessings from this past week. Read on to see why I do this.

A gratitude practice is “like polishing your nails. If you want them to always look good, you have to keep up with it. Visit the manicurist once and you’ll look great for a week. But if you fail to make a return visit, your hands will soon look pretty grim.” (Deborah Norville)

“Writing a gratitude letter or jotting down what you’re grateful for might make you feel good for a day or a week. But if you don’t keep up with it, Your outlook can become dark.

“If you try it on for size for one month and you notice good changes, you can’t assume those are permanent changes. It takes intentional; effort. It needs to be sort of woven into your daily habits and daily ways.” (Dr. Barbara Fredrickson)

Writing my FFF is part of my weekly habit.

ONE. Airport Pick UP. I went with my brother-in-law to pick up my sister and their daughter from the airport in San Francisco. They had been to Cuba for 18 days. They were there to support a local church. My 17-year-old niece was one of the translators. It was so fun to hear about some of her adventures with food, sites, and cool people. We didn’t talk a lot because it was almost 1am when they disembarked. I am looking forward to photos as both my sister and niece are great photographers. I am grateful they got to go on this trip. They were a blessing and were themselves blessed.

TWO. Donner Lake Day Trip. Normally the women from my church spend a summer day at the beach at San Francisco. This year we went to Donner Lake (near Truckee). It is much easier to get there; none of that horrid Bay area traffic with its tons of pedestrians. Several women asked if we could go there again. YEP!

10 CNC women enjoyed this place. The time sped by. … We walked (and some of us may or may not have gotten lost) … ate … told stories … played dominoes or Boggle … toured the little museum… took photos … read … snoozed … enjoyed quiet time … gazed at the lake. … It was a busy, refreshing, fun day. I am grateful for the time I got to spend in nature and time with women from my church.

THREE. Screenshots. I have finally mastered how to take a screenshot on my cell phone. Before this week, it was hit-or-miss. NOW, however. I can get a screenshot every time. I am grateful when I can learn new things especially when the mastery is harder than I expected.

FOUR. Shows and food. One afternoon, Marsha and I made up a YUMMY salad and then settled in to watch The Good Witch. We finally have only two episodes left. When we finish this series, we will then get to watching The Midwives. I am grateful for a clean show that is pleasant with a touch of suspense. And I am grateful for a friend who likes to watch TV, eat salad, and visit.

FIVE. Critique Group. Twice a month I meet up with my writer’s group. Because of my shoulder, I haven’t been able to write much. But because of this group at least I am writing some. And each time I go, I learn more about the craft of writing. I am grateful for that, and I’m grateful for their friendship.

Leave a blessing or two in the comment section. Or write your own post and link at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

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Friday’s Fave Five – September 20, 2019

It is Friday, so it is time to share five favourite blessings. That’s why we call it Friday’s Fave Five or FFF.

ONE. I have a new Physical Therapist and thus renewed hope. I just wasn’t healing well. My PT and I just weren’t connecting. I got a 2nd opinion last week. My arm is back in jail (in the brace); but I am already noticing less pain and more sleep and energy. I am HAPPY dance full of gratitude for this blessing.

TWO. God helped me write (my sermon) and share it. Without God’s enabling power, I would not have been able to do either action. Sunday’s topic was GRACE Listen to this to find out why grace is like super-hyper-abounding, crashing waves. I am thankful for God’s help and for all I learned about grace.

THREE. This video will make you laugh, think, and feel differently about God’s grace. My two favorite quotes — “I [Jesus] took the unforgivable and made it forgivable,”  — “Andrew, my face is smiling, but I [Peter] am serious.” — I am thankful for Christ’s forgiveness and for laughter.

FOUR. I went to a meetup with Sacramento Cake4Kids bakers this week. It was great meeting people, participating in a tool swap, hearing from an agency we partner with, and making a celebratory cake topper. I am grateful that I am part of a ministry that bakes cakes (and other treats) so kiddos can celebrate their birthdays. Some have actually never had a birthday cake. NEVER!

FIVE. I more than survived a PEP field trip. The folks over 55 at church (PEP) went to Alta Sierra Biblical Gardens. I was nervous about going because I remembered that the trails are uneven, rocky, and steep in places. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue. But with my brace on, I felt very vulnerable and worried about falling.

I brought my walking stick and a plan. My plan was if I felt too scared about the path, I would just find a nearby bench and sit to wait for the group to come back. I kept my focus on the bits right before me.

That’s the best way to handle life when it is overwhelming or scary: just look at the bits to do that are right in front of you. (Right?)

With Marsha and Gail’s encouragement, I was able to make it all the way to the top and down.Usually one was before me and the other one was behind me. I am thankful for these ladies.

I never realized how handy a walking stick is. I am thankful for this piece of equipment.

None of us fell. All of us had a good time. Half of us made it to the top. All of us enjoyed the scenery and the beauty around us. All of this good news also went on my gratitude list.

This list has more than 5 THANKS. I am sure I will not get into trouble for that! Leave a comment below or share your post at Living to Tell the Story.

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Friday’s Fave Five – September 6, 2019

Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness, and gratefulness is a measure of our aliveness.” ~ Diana Butler Bass, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

It is time for my weekly ritual of looking for the blessings from this past week. Regularly saying thank you to God and to people help me live a life filled with gratitude. When I live that way, I am contented and therefore nicer to be around.

Tomatoes – A friend, Mark,  had an abundance of tomatoes in his garden and so he gave me 10 pounds. I made crockpot tomato sauce with this bounty. Some I turned into spaghetti sauce and some I turned into tomato soup. These have been delicious treats. I am grateful that Mark shared his produce and that I found a recipe that we like.

Office – A work colleague (and my sister in real life) no longer works at the church where I work. I was able to snag her office. It has three windows which let in a lot of natural light. My daughter painted my new space and moved all the furniture. I am still settling in, but I can tell this is a win-win of a move. Although, I will and already do miss my sister a lot. I am grateful for my new space and for the help my daughter gave me.

Certified – My daughter has been studying to become a Certified Braille Transcriber. That has been her focus for the past 18 months. Yesterday, Elizabeth received news that she passed her final. She had to transcribe 37 pages of a book for sighted people. However, she more than passed. She passed with a score of 100%. I am so proud of her. And I am grateful that Elizabeth’s hard work paid off sooner rather than later.

Celebrate – Of course we had to celebrate Elizabeth’s hard work. We went to Zest Kitchen which is a vegan restaurant that also has gluten-free options. I had the Tiger Mountain Mushroom Burger. Wow, was it delicious. I am grateful my daughter passed and that some of us celebrated her Wednesday night.

Postage – I finally boxed up and mailed a slew of stuff I bought for my granddaughters. I procrastinated because I KNEW it would cost ALOT to mail. But I put them in a medium flat rate box from the US postal service. Ya’ll, it only cost $14.35. This was a heavy box, too. In fact, it can weigh up to 70 pounds; the postage for this size box is always $14.35. Did you know this existed? I am grateful I could mail all the items for such a reasonable price.

What’s on your gratitude list for this week? Share some in the comments or write your own post and link up here at Living to Tell The Story.  You’ll find a group of grateful like-minded folks.

P.S. I apologize in advance for still not being very good at visiting and commenting on other FFF’s. It is still painful to write (by hand or computer).

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Friday’s Fave Five – August 30, 2019

Gratitude is a choice which leads to happiness, contentment, and generosity. Gratitude is an especially important choice to make when life isn’t going as well as you’d like. I am in such a down time. My shoulder isn’t healing like it should. In fact, my range-of-motion has decreased whereas the pain has not.

“If it is difficult to live gratefully as individuals,” Dr. Bass believes that, “achieving a communal sense of gratitude will challenge us in profound ways.”  So, I am making it a point to think about blessings from this week and post them with a community of like-minded gratitude seekers at Living to Tell the Story.

My five fave blessings are as follows.

ONE. Texts from my kiddos. It is always a pleasure to receive a text from one of my adult children. I like knowing they are thinking about me especially when right now I want to think about why I should be grumpy.

TWO. Gratitude journal. In order to help me focus even more on the lovely things of life. I bought myself this journal. It has questions, prompts, and coloring pages for a brighter, happier life. There are almost 150 pages. So we’ll see how I am, gratitude-wise, by the end of January  2020, if I do one page a day.

THREE. A Cake4Kids request. Since mid-June, I have been on the baking sidelines because of arm weakness and pain.  Then I saw a request for cookies, bars, or brownies. I thought I could manage to make those by myself. I knew I’d make Rice Krispie treats because kids of all ages love them. I wanted these to be festive looking so I checked out Pinterest for ideas. I found a recipe that includes fruity pebbles and extra marshmallows at the last stage of mixing. They turned out pretty and tasty. I know because I made a test batch two weeks ago for a potluck.

FOUR. Gratitude book. This week I read Gratitude: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks by Dr. Diana Butler Bass.  I am also grateful that I could read it on my e-reader as I can hold my phone more easily than I can hold a physical book. Here are some of the ideas I am pondering from this book.

“Gratitude amplifies goodness, rescues us from negative emotions, and connects us to others in meaningfu ways.”

“Gratitude is both a noun and a verb. Gratitude is both a feeling and a choice. The first often arises unannounced and the second takes a lifetime of practice.”

“Gratitude is not a psychological or political panacea, like a secular prosperity gospel, one that denies pain or overlooks injustice, because being grateful does not “fix” anything. Pain, suffering, and injustice – these things are all real. Gratitude, however, invalidates the false narrative that these things are the sum total of human existence, that despair is the last word. Gratitude gives us a new story.” (I believe  God is the author of my story and that He rules it with compassion, grace, and meaning.)

“God, help me to quiet my noisy, worrisome mind in my ordinary world. Help me relax in the familiar and to beware of and appreciate it.”

FIVE. Vegetable tart. Last week I arranged meals for a family that experienced multiple deaths in a short period of time. A person had to cancel on bringing a meal, but my daughter said she make something for this vegan-eating family. Elizabeth made Vegan Spiral Vegetable Tart. She made it several months ago for a tea party and we loved it then. Elizabeth made two pies for the family and two for us. We all loved it. In fact, the other family texted for the recipe. Even the kiddos loved it.

Your Turn . . . Leave your blessings in the comments. Or write a post and link up here with like-minded folks.

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Friday’s Fave Five – August 16, 2019

Gratitude flows from a heart that is aware and content. I am aware that God is the giver of all good gifts in my life, from the majour things (a healing body) to the minor things (an empty hot tub to enjoy in peace).

Being content with what I have and don’t have is a bow to the concept that God allows the not so lovely to occur in my life. The Apostle Paul says he learned to be content in times of riches and times of scarcity. I want to emulate that attitude in all things, as well.

Through it all, I want to stay committed to the truth that God is good.

That is why on Thursday nights, I strive to look over my past week for the blessings from God. I want to be aware and content.

If you’d like to join in with this weekly meme, Friday’s Fave Five, go to Susanne’s place at Living to Tell the Story to link up your post. Below are five of my favorite blessings.

ONE. Crafting with others. Crafting helps me relax; it’s like I get an emotional massage. On Friday night, Gillian led nine of us in making 12 cards. Most of my sentiments had something to do with prayer. I was relieved that my healing right shoulder mostly cooperated with all the fine motor tasks, although I didn’t finish a third of them until the next day. This evening held a threefold blessing, the actual crafting, chatting a bit with the ladies, and having homemade cards to send.

TWO. Spending time with a longtime friend. It has been months and months since Marsha and I have spent time together. We rectified that on Saturday. We watched The Good Witch episodes, made an early dinner together, chatted, and then drove to a nearby outdoor theatre to buy tickets (Mama Mia) for our church Seniors’ outing this coming Sunday night. The time flew by. It was an easy atmosphere to feel comfortable and welcomed.

THREE. Youth took over. Last Sunday, five high schoolers and one youth group leader were responsible for church service. They shared a pivotal experience from summer camp, led us in Scripture reading and were part of the worship team. They led in prayer and gave the offering invitation. It was exciting to see how God spoke to them and changed them. They had things to say which we, the congregation, needed to hear.

I usually deal with the women and seniors (55+ years of age) in our church. But I had the privilege of working with the young people. It was fun to note and encourage the giftings they displayed. I liked praying for and encouraging them. It was a treat to get to know these six.

FOUR. Women’s Ministry Team meeting went well. We organized details for events through December. I am grateful for Cynthia and Gillian as they willingly and lovingly commit to reaching the women of our church. Their attitudes and examples stimulate and encourage my thinking and actions. The events we have planned are more than socials. Our goal is fostering an environment that grows a deeper relationship with God and with each other.

FIVE. FaceTime helps me connect. I speak with my east coast grandchildren several times a week. It is always a joy. But yesterday, I had the pleasure of connecting with a niece who lives in Germany. We only spoke for about 10 minutes, but it was a delight to see her, hear her, and share news. These face-to-face chats help me feel like I am a part of their lives. Hopefully, they feel the same about me.

Your Turn . . .  How aware and content were you this week? What blessings did God pile onto you this week? Please share in the comments or link up your own post at Living to Tell the Story.

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