Picture this. The main street of town ends in a “T” on the waterfront at the Bay. This is a small town, a handful of shops and restaurants, and no chain stores (except maybe the hardware store but it retains its small town flavor). At the bottom of the street is a small wharf where the ferry used to run across the bay until the bridge was built in 1969. No matter, the area is still called East Ferry.
There is a small indy coffee shop with an outdoor patio overlooking the bay. The town is, as yet, thankfully undiscovered. My father went to the coffee shop every morning at 6:30 to meet his buddies. They sat outside and chatted and worked crossword puzzles. They had a community. The friends were all in their seventies or older. I stopped in recently on a Sunday and spoke to the baristas – they knew the schedule of this group – they would be in after church today according to the baristas. I was hoping to say hello to the group, but I didn’t realize that, like many of their generation, they were faithful churchgoers. I saw them in July and I’ll catch them next time.
Although my dad was an introvert, he almost never missed a day at the deli during his summers on the island. In fact, last fall he was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a severe case of bronchitis. He was not admitted, but the next day he stayed home. The day after though, much to our surprise, he was at the deli – still feeling awful, but wanting that community. In Florida, he didn’t have a group or a deli, but he started going to the clubhouse in the early morning and having coffee with the kitchen workers. Gradually he built up a small community there as well.
I am blessed to have my own group of “dames at the deli” – once a week we meet for breakfast and fellowship. But I think I might like to have a small town tradition of daily community at the deli. I am coming to realize I may be missing out.
This morning my friend Sarah sits by the bedside of her father, one of the members of the deli group. He is in hospice and his breathing is slowing down. We exchanged text messages this morning encouraging one another on this difficult road as we journey alongside our loved ones as they pass from this world to the next.
We are privileged to have the time to honor the legacy of our fathers as they make the journey from this world.
2017 started out like many years – with me desiring to make the most of my time and energy. So I signed up for Michael Hyatt‘s course Best Year Ever. I began the year with great goals and high productivity. I was excited about using time blocking to manage my time and increase my results. My personal and professional lives were going along swimmingly.
On April 3rd everything came to a screeching halt. Our daughter and my parents were in a horrific car accident. Thus began a four month ordeal that I will share more about in a future post. I spent weeks at a time in Florida with my family.
In my shower there hangs an Aqua Notes waterproof pad for jotting down great ideas that often come to me first thing in the morning. At the beginning of the year, I wrote on the top sheet “2017 BEST YEAR EVER.” Every time I came home from Florida, that paper would be staring me in the face each morning. I began to wonder if this was the Worst Year Ever.
Although I was tempted to cross out the word “Best” several times with a big X, I did not. I came to see that even in the midst of the worst ordeal of my life, there were still things to be thankful for. I tried to add to my 1000Gifts thankfulness journal. I held on to my faith and searched for moments of serenity amid the stress and exhaustion. I prayed like never before. I sought God and tried to continue to praise Him despite my circumstances.
There is a lot of unrest in America following the recent election. So many are worried about the future of our country. Social media is full of opinions on both sides of the fence. It is easy to get caught up in the turmoil. And yet, we must remember that our God is in control. He holds us in the palm of His hand. He watches over us and our country. He offers peace and rest free for the asking.
One of my favorite activities is to go out for a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature. In this way, I reconnect with God and refresh my spirit. I see the incredible world that God has made and I am at peace. I enjoy fresh air, beautiful vistas, a bit of exercise, and photo ops. Hope you will enjoy these pics from a later afternoon hike in the woods near our home.
As you contemplate natural beauty, allow your soul to be at rest and allow peace to invade your spirit. Take time to enjoy the world around you.
Our family loves meteor showers and star gazing. Enough that we get up in the middle of the night and predawn hours to enjoy the sights. When the kids were small, we got up about 4 am to lie on the golf course in Florida one time to watch the meteors. A few years ago, Katryn and I got up about 2 am, spread a blanket on our lawn, and lay looking at the meteors and talking about life for an hour. More recently Deryck and I set alarms and went out on the second floor balcony in the midnight hours to watch for meteors. There is something about the majesty of the skies that makes it worth getting up to see these sights. I am continually amazed and awed by creation and its beauty. When I spend time in nature, it grounds and centers me; it reminds me of how big God is and how He loves to bring us joy and delight. I find serenity when I can spend time outdoors enjoying all the sights of weather, sky, nature, creatures, and trees. Most days I stop to take pictures of clouds or sunsets. Taking time for the enjoyment of life’s little pleasures keeps me serene.
I attended Homecoming at my alma mater last weekend. It was wonderful to be back on campus and see how much the college has grown. There was a vibrancy on campus – an excitement for all that God is doing in and through the college. There are many new buildings since I was there and the facilities are quite impressive. The college has kept up with education trends and the needs of the student population. At the same time, they have kept the natural beauty of the campus intact and there are beautiful places to walk both on the perimeter of the campus and in the heart of it. The sense of place and of mission is very strong on this college campus. Even the older buildings are filled with the energy of staff who are enthused about the direction and goals of the college.
We walked through the woods to the large pond and I remembered walking and cross-country skiing on these paths as well as canoeing and swimming in the pond. I saw a few old friends and met several new ones. The college motto is “Lives Worth Leading” and they are intentionally shaping students to be tomorrow’s leaders.
I recently took an inventory of my spiritual gifts. My number two and three gifts were Nurturing Leadership and Faith. My faith is central to my life and I seek to love and serve God in all I do. My primary spiritual gift of Visionary and Managing Leadership can best be described with an analogy from my love of sailing. The owner of the yacht decides where it will go, the navigator determines how to get there, and the helmsman actually gets the boat to its destination. I am a skilled navigator and helmsman both on the water and in life.
Had a fantastic day trip to Block Island this past weekend.
We rented mopeds and rode, then walked out to the North Lighthouse,
swam, walked around the point, and then rode round to the Southeast Light and Mohegan Bluffs. Went back into town for lunch and then another swim and some frisbee in the ocean. A sun-filled, salty, sandy day was just what we all needed. Refreshing to walk along the shore and see the ocean, which was very clear and a beautiful turquoise blue.
Margin is an important concept, especially in the life of an introvert. Margin, like the white space around the edges of the pages in a book, simply means making space in your life just to be. I am intentional about down time in my life. Serenity to me involves some time to just sit and relax on my back porch most days.