The Same Moon

I just went outside to check out the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse….

and met a new neighbor.

“Are you out here to see the same thing I am?” an older woman asked me. She lives in the building next door.

And I did something usually foreign to me.

I befriended a neighbor. Her name is Peggy and she said I’m welcome anytime. She’s very grateful for her new place and I told her the neighborhood is great, which it is!!

She kept using my name and she just seemed so genuinely happy and friendly.

Typically, I’m just uninterested in my neighbors– even inside the building. Sounds bitchy, but that’s me.

Takes me awhile to warm up to people. I just usually hate small talk.

But as we talked, we interrupted the conversation to just gaze at the moon.

It was just so beautiful. The clouds were flirtatious– gliding away and then covering up.

Because of that moon, I made a new friend.

We probably chatted 20 minutes.

I said goodbye because I had left the back door open, only intending on a couple minutes max.

I had to walk to the end of the driveway because the moon was hiding–not visible from the back yard.

What was YOUR moon experience like tonight??

Reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “Moonstruck,” with Cher and Nic Cage.

Was that Cosmo’s Moon tonight??

I think so.

Clap Until

your hands turn red

your hands they sting

that rhythm strong

your palms they sing!

We got harmonies down,

but apparently

our rhythm ain’t so sound.

Thus our choir director did preach

as we get up outta our seats

to stand vigilant and

step our feet up

and down, smiling

and shouting

whilst our hands dance

in time, and loud.

Took off my rings

my bracelets too

they got in the way

of the message

my palms had to say.

That gospel clap,

I’mma learn

gonna keep up fast

and raise up

my spirit along with

my joy, bubbling

up for the Lord!

Choir practice tonight! Ahhh! I love it so much.

I learned that keeping up a clap is a skill.

I’m gonna learn how to CLAP like a respectable choir member.

My Second 5K: A Hard Lesson

Yesterday morning I ran my second 5K, The Shorewood Scoot.

It was difficult and I lost motivation quickly.

I hadn’t run at all in a week, and I could feel the difference. It was my first slightly cold run and I *did* love that!

What I love about 5K’s is getting up early, meeting friends and taking pictures before– the camaraderie of being with a bunch of people who don’t care about the weather and want to do something healthy for fun.

Everyone seems to be relaxed and people are wearing so many different colors! It’s a wonderful environment.

And I LOVE crossing the finish line.

But yesterday early-on I felt defeated– I was too focused on the outcome– on my rank. On who was behind me.

I slowed to a walk in less than a mile. People– walkers!– from behind me kept passing me up.

Then I began to see elderly people who were running slowly, but still running– they passed me too.

I barely ran this one. I just didn’t have the energy, though not sure why. I did get enough sleep.

One  con about this race was far fewer volunteers– and they didn’t have much enthusiasm. They merely clapped and pointed, but most of them didn’t smile or cheer or even make eye contact. I was surprised how much I missed that enthusiasm from my first 5K.

I also had in a lined rain jacket and it felt too hot over the thermal shirt I had chosen. But my bib was pinned on it and I didn’t want to stop and re-do it. Also, that jacket never stays tied around my waist.

The race actually began on a trail I’ve run several times. I kept seeing entrances off the path to the woods. I had such a strong urge to ditch the race altogether and just explore alone in the woods.

But I kept on. I believe I crossed the finish line in 50:25?? That’s what I remember the clock saying.

I have no idea how I ranked– after several searches online there appears to be no link posted.

But maybe it’s better that way??

After, I had plans to go with a friend and her two dogs to a local arboretum. I was so psyched!

Especially since her little lady, Kaia, sat on my lap most of the way. She enjoyed being hugged, and I loved holding her. It was comforting to have this calm little creature snuggling up to me. Once we arrived, we both walked one of the dogs and marveled at all the pets and vendors! And the threes, of course.

It was a laid-back, beautiful day that felt like fall. We both had long-sleeve shirts on.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long.

Her little dog was pulling me and I couldn’t keep up with walking her. For some reason, my knees were really sore. I had to keep slowing down and stopping.

I felt like the Tin Man with rusty joints. I felt like every bit of 34.

It was confusing, because I’ve run 5 miles without any pain. What’s the difference in running a 5K and then doing some walking? It wasn’t even a large dog!

Regardless, it appears I over-did it by making those plans directly after the race.

A lesson for next time!

And although that race was a hard one, I’m not giving up.

I will simply run more often and continue doing 5K’s until they get easier.

I’m not waiting long to get back out there. Probably tonight!

Because when I do well, I love it!

I’m going to tr y and have the mindset that I’m running to ENJOY it. To take in the beauty of fall. To challenge myself. To have fun with my friends. To visit places I haven’t been.

And yes, to compete. The two 5K’s I’ve run have both been small and local.

I think I would enjoy a big one more. The anonymity would comfort me in a bigger group.

What’s a race that was difficult for you?? How do you motivate yourself when you start to get inside your head and lose heart during a race?  Tell me in the comments!

A Coloring Party!

Tonight I attended my first coloring party!

I told my Dad about it and he asked, “What’s the point?”

“To relax,” I said.

As I was driving home I realized that was exactly the point. My friend Daisy had mentioned this and I jumped at the invite.

There were six of us total at Daisy’s table. I hadn’t met the other ladies prior.

All of us brought our own coloring books and coloring materials– crayons, colored pencils, markers, sparkly gel pens.

At work I had mentioned my evening plans tonight to a male co-worker.

“Adult coloring books are a thing now,” I said.

“ADULT coloring books? What kind of pictures *are* they?” he teased.

“Shut up,” I laughed.

What’s the difference between regular (kids) coloring books and those for grown-ups? The adult patterns are more intricate– lots of swirls and opportunities to really have fun with your imagination. They would take the average adult probably more than one sitting to complete.

Kids’ designs are simple and can be done quickly.

I had three kids’ coloring books given to me by a friend when I was in the hospital a few years ago: Lisa Frank being my favorite!!

My favorite “grown-up” design book has a faeries theme.

The ladies chattered a bit.

But mostly, we all just sat quietly and became absorbed in completing our pictures.

No pressure to talk. Rather, artistic freedom in community.

Daisy’s two dogs were underneath the table, whipping us with their tails and demanding to be petted.

One is a Chinese-crested and the other is a Pitt mix.

Her Pandora station provided the soundtrack.

When Bon Jovi came on, all of us sang under our breaths,

“Take my hand, we’ll make it I sweeeeeeearrr…”

“That’s what Bon Jovi does to you!” I said.

At 9 we packed up and returned to our lives.

We had tea and nuts and pretzel bites.

I am so hooked on coloring with friends.

Far from Home

My Uncle Jim just passed today…. cancer.

And I am heartbroken because I can’t be with my family right now. We’re from Kansas but live in Illinois.

And while I love my new job, I haven’t earned any time off and have barely been there a month– I can’t ask. Even if I could, I don’t have the cash to go by car or plane. My parents can’t either.

And you can send flowers and make a tearful phone call to express sympathy…. but nothing replaces a real hug. Or holding hands together at a service, and those wonderful stories people tell that breaks the tears into laughter.

So many times, we’ve been stuck here when family members passed on both sides– my dad’s and my mother’s.

I have an incredible, hardworking, loving, affectionate, close family. But I hardly know them beyond visits for a few hours or a weekends when we can make it back– usually every few years. Phone calls.

I got to talk to my Aunt Judy, his widow, for a few minutes tonight at least. I’m glad we got to cry a little bit together.

I feel terrible because Uncle Jim sent me so many cards over my lifetime– birthday cards and even money for years even into adulthood. He even wrote me letters for awhile. Usually it’s the woman in the family who maintains correspondence but he was the one who signed their cards.

He was a journalism major in college also, and a competitive runner in the senior Olympics. He was so happy I’d found running. Even when I would call to check on him and how chemo was going…. he barely mentioned himself. So humble. He was always “okay”– he wanted to know what was happening with me. He was honest about how he felt, but he had such a deep faith that he always had a positive attitude about it.

His Catholic faith was part of the bedrock of his life. He was a husband, father and business owner.

Uncle Jim, I miss you so.

Thankfully, a good cry usually makes me tired and I sleep well.

Please keep him and our family in your prayers.

The Beauty of “War Room:” Don’t Believe the Bad Reviews

Last Wednesday I heard about the Kendrick Brothers’ movie “War Room,” at choir practice.

Our choir director said it was a prayerful movie and that anyone of faith should go see it. That despite the title, it had nothing do with actual, political war. That an unbeliever who saw this movie would be convinced of the power of prayer.

I was sold immediately. I’m a believer, but it sounded like just my kinda movie.

Thursday night, the next day, I was invited to my parents’ for dinner, along with a longtime family friend. She’s a mother of five, a grandmother and a devout Catholic woman– I grew up next to her family.  I had planned to invite her and my step-mother.

Once I brought it up, SHE said she had heard about the movie and planned to invite ME! We both enjoy movies and are single. My step-mother ended up canceling, but she and I kept our plans.

We decided to share a medium popcorn and she asked for butter– just like me. Apparently there wasn’t enough salt, so she poured a heaping pile of it in some napkins, then folded it up into her purse so that we could disperse it in the middle as we ate our way through it. It made me laugh.

I was so glad she went with me. Like me, she’s a movie talker!

After, she wanted to stay and watch the credits. We were the last to leave. Afterward, we went for dinner, which I hadn’t been expecting. I had the best time.

I won’t spoil it- -but I will share a few details.

It’s an ambitious movie that works because it’s focused on one small family, and the way the one family member’s decision to surrender to a disciplined prayerful life transforms the family’s circumstances in every area.

The hero is an elderly woman named Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie). I think she deserves an Oscar.

She’s got the sternness of Madea, with a little more empathy. She’s a small woman of fire– but she commands just as much respect as Madea. She’s the kind of woman who commands your attention. The kind of woman who refuses to accept your facade, no matter how good you think you are at hiding the pain. The kind of woman who reminds you that you deserve love. That you are accepted and forgiven, no matter what. The woman who teaches you about God’s grace.

Miss Clara notices something amiss in her realtor, Priscilla, and buts into her business in the loving way that older people tend to do. She wants to know about her marriage, her daughter, if she has a relationship with the Lord.

It parallels “Fried Green Tomatoes,” in that a woman’s life is set right by a deep friendship with an older woman, a mentor, who helps another adult woman who feels a bit lost.  This woman could have given up on a marriage that was held together only by contempt. Their own daughter felt unloved as a result of their constant fighting– there was no affection present at all. On the brink of infidelity, both partners in this marriage might have abandoned hope and ended up divorced.

But Priscilla (Elizabeth Jordan), the wife and mother who befriends Miss Clara, is so desperate she is open to prayer,

Miss Clara challenges her to fight FOR her husband, rather than with him. To fight in Jesus’ name.

And it’s Priscilla’s devotion to changing HERSELF, accepting her husband and loving him as is, and praying unceasingly for him, her daughter, and her own change of heart– that is what inspires.

It’s about acceptance, surrender, owning responsibilities, about amends.

About passing on your faith and what you’ve learned with others.

It’s about creating a physical space in your life to be with God and his Word– to pray for those you love most.

It’s about the Bible.

It makes me want to overhaul my own space– to create my own War Room. To eliminate the clutter.

To put the focus back where it out to be: on God.

I heard a lot of “That’s right!” and “Uh-huh,” and “AMEN!” in the rows surrounding us.

I know I will see this movie again.

Please, give it a chance. Even if you’re a non-believer. Especially if you are.

Choir Pinned!!

Yesterday at Mass, the choir were given pins by Father Ray.

This is my second– the first said “Minister of Care,” when I was bringing Holy Communion to a family. Now I’m serving our parish in the choir instead.

When I saw Father holding them, I went over to claim mine. He pulled his hands back.

A few minutes later, he blessed them all with Holy Water.

They were all the more special for that.

I had to take a picture– you can see the Holy Water droplets on the plastic case holding it inside.

Reminds me of fourth grade, when my class were given a Bible. They were blessed with Holy Water. I still have mine.

Though I admit I don’t read it often.

This little gesture from Father Ray to our choir made me feel so included, part of something special.


I had someone take a picture of me wearing mine on my shirt. It’s gleaming there– my smile is huge!

I love our white and red choir robes! He asked us to wear our pins with pride each Sunday.

choir pin

I’m delighted to oblige.