Pieces From the Past Couple of Weeks

Arch Cape Weekend

I’ve been a little out of commission in the writing world, violating the advice I’ve been reading on the disciplines of writing. I went on a weekend Women’s retreat with a group from my church called THRIVE. I’ve mentioned this group before, commenting that at one point that was my mission: to thrive, not just survive. But then Kaiser stole it, so I backed off from proclaiming it to avoid any eye rolling when my back is turned. Thriving is still preferred over just surviving, and we definitely thrived at our retreat on the Oregon coast in Arch Cape. I haven’t been a women’s weekend gal and I’d never been to Arch Cape, but both were things I’d do again. Our group has incredibly gifted leaders who can calm a storm with a tempering word of God and send Satan’s spirits running like a bolt of lightening. We spent hours worshiping and digesting God’s word as much as we did listening and sharing with each other, without interruptions and distractions of the demands at home. The ocean spanned broad and deep, threatening, like our lives, while demonstrating God’s hand. Leaving this sanctuary for home was an adjustment for a few, and I hoped the weekend gave them respite that allowed for a new perspective and energy.

I Had a Birthday…that lasted a few days.

I had an unexpected wonderful birthday. The forecast was for rain (lots of it), it was a Monday, and I was working. At least I didn’t have a dental appointment. And it was the day after the Thrive weekend. God’s Spirit was plentiful but I was low on steam. And while I don’t detest my birthday, as I age I’m not a fan of it either. It’s not so much that I mind adding rings to my tree, but I fret about running out of time. Time to do so many things that I haven’t done. Things to do with ministry, writing, vacations with my kids, or finishing my daughter’s high school graduation gift: a photo journal of her life.

So, I wasn’t giving my birthday a lot of thought, yet there was a bit of a skip in my step when I left for work. I figured that the day would be mostly uneventful. Both of my kids were away at school, so I knew they wouldn’t be celebrating with me. I’d made plans with a friend to have dinner that night, and I’d hoped my heart would be content with that. But almost immediately surprises of birthday wishes, cards, and small gifts greeted me when I arrived to work. First of all, Bradley called and sang Happy Birthday to me. Then I was met with one of our family home made boxed chocolate cakes with canned frosting that we’ve been eating for our birthdays since the kids’ first birthdays. Bridgette had made it and brought it in the Friday before.

Tradition: Boxed chocolate cake with canned frosting.

A friend surprised me with another birthday cake, and throughout the day I received enough food to meet our staff calorie requirements for a couple of days. When I got home that night there was more love left for me at the door step and another friend came over briefly. It was wonderful and exhausting, and not once did I consider my age, what was missing in my life, or the possibility that I’m running out of time to accomplish some goals.

So in the end, thank you to my friends; fifty eight is great.


Such a Good Man

Last week-end I attended the memorial service of a good man. He was the dad of a dear friend, who is also a good woman. But this post isn’t about her. Yet her good dad produced many good things, and she (and her sister) are two of those good things.

Being good sounds like it might be easy because being great seems like a higher achievement. Like being good is where you are while you inch your way up (or catapult for some) to being great. But it’s not easy to be good, because the person who is good usually doesn’t set out to be good, and that’s what’s great. They make sacrifices, they take the higher road, and they humble themselves even when they’re right. Those basic acts prove to be the most difficult for most of us; they distinguish one person from the next. A person who sets out to be great emphasizes his own needs over others, which often gets in the way of being good, and that’s not so great.

Jerry wasn’t on a mission or inching himself up to achieve greatness. He went to work every day where his customers could count on his shoot it straight fashion advice. Like clockwork, his girls looked out their bay window as their eyes searched the road, anticipating his car driving toward home. On Halloweens he made costumes that surpassed his young girls’ expectations and trick or treaters returned each October to Cherryhill Drive for the man who made them giggle. He made biscuits and took them to the neighbors, and he created patterns in his lawn when he mowed, not to be great, but because he gave everything his best effort.

What else rounds off a good man? A sense of humor. He passed that on to his daughters, but my dear friend in particular can make anyone laugh, including at her daddy’s memorial service. Contrary to what most people know, Hollywood didn’t invent the red nose day, my friend did. However, no “day” is needed for her to don her red nose anywhere and anytime she’s inspired. I half expected it at the service.

Jerry was such a good man. There’s nothing greater than that.

Painting my House

Not quite there.

Have you done this? Have you searched the paint stores, the Internet, Pinterest, the home décor magazines for the right paint colors and combinations for your exterior house color? Have you driven slowly past homes taking pictures, probably mistaken for a private eye, or worse, a potential burglar? Have you painted samples on your house, thinking you’ve got the right color, then painted it on another portion of your house to discover you like it in one light, but not another? Then to decide you really do like it after all, or maybe, you still don’t? Then, which colors will best camouflage the dents in the gutters: light or dark?

This project has kept me up and kept me from doing things like, well, writing. It’s expensive and I’ll have to live with it for a very long time. Choosing a wedding dress is easier than this! Last week my painter informed me that there was a window of dry weather forecasted so we’d need to pick the colors so he could get the paint. After I aborted my weekend plans (kind of), and multiple trips to the paint store, I set to trying samples on the house that might have passed for a patchwork SOS from high up into sky. I was finally able to find peace with a decision. I was so grateful for the input of a friend who I trust with these kinds of things.

On Thursday the base color got painted and some of the trim. I like the color, but I still have some decisions to make. I’ve decided the trim is like the accessories of an outfit; it can make or break the curb appeal of my house with one wrong stroke. I came home from work and started working on the garage paint decisions, trying every combination. I don’t want an obnoxiously loud contrast, but I’d like a bold contrast. Oh my goodness, how can this be so difficult?!

I was hoping to post a solid before and after picture, but this thing is still in the works so you just get a before and middle picture. An “after” is a little ways out because our record breaking sun has turned to April showers.

The good news about this? My contractor isn’t leaving me quite yet, which makes me happy. My crush (have I mentioned this?) hasn’t waned .

I’ll keep you posted (on the painting).

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