Sunday, February 18, 2018

Yes, I'm really posting.  It's been so long since I was inspired to report in, to say anything.  I'm not sure that I even have anything worth sharing today.  But I want to start with this:

This hymn is speaking to me.  I belong to a lovely little church in New England.  It's a UCC (United Church of Christ) church and our denomination is on the progressive, liberal side of mainstream Christian denominations.  My church is small, and we are aging, but I do believe that we attempt to do more than just talk and pray.  Prayer is important, no question, but action is equally important.   And my little church acts its beliefs, thoughts, and prayers.  I'm not sure how we will act in response to gun violence yet, after all, this is a small town in New England, and many in our little community are hunters and gun owners.  But we already act through our food pantry, community suppers, our Open and Affirming, and Just Peace missions, our commitments to environmental and  opioid addiction causes.  So we will find a way to do more than send thoughts and prayers to the victims of gun violence. 
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
Permission for free use of this hymn is given for local church and ecumenical worship services. Email for a copy of it in MS Word formatted for a worship bulletin insert and a PDF of the hymn with music. More hymns about gun violence, including one in response to a school shooting can be found at
Please share this hymn with church musicians, pastors and others who are concerned about gun violence.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I challenged myself this past Monday.  I climbed a 1.2 mile long hiking trail to the top of a tiny mountain, more like a hill in terms of mountains, but it sure felt like a mountain to me!  I went by myself, having taken most hiking precautions.  (I had water, a cell phone, a map, insect repellant, I had checked the weather, was dressed fairly appropriately, and I'd told someone where I was going and when I'd left).  I knew it was classed as an easy trail, and it was hiked frequently.  Somewhere I read that an "fit" hiker would manage it in half an hour and a couch potato would need at least an hour.  So I figured I'd need somewhere in the middle.  I started an aggressive walking program last summer, and I felt I was ready for something more, so up I went.

It took me about 45 minutes to reach the top of the trail, so I'd guessed correctly on the amount of time I'd need.  I was really impressed by my stamina too.  I stopped to take pictures along the way up, which was really all I needed to keep my breathing even.  The trail was forested, with many roots, pine needles, and flat rocky surfaces for most of the way.

  In a few spots there were some tricky rocks to climb.

 I did get tired; the last 50 feet of the trail was steep, and a bit tricky and my thighs were complaining, but I did it!   The top of the trail was granite covered, and clear with a lovely view of "our" mountain, Mt. Monadnock, to the north. Since I had cell reception, I let people know where I was.
   I basked in the sun and rested for about 20 minutes before tackling the descent.  That was actually trickier than the ascent.  It's much harder to control your forward momentum!

However, I did it,

and reached my car safe and sound.

Things I learned:  

  • Bring my day pack so that I don't have to carry my water bottle
  • Bring a hiking stick -- snowshoe poles --- with me, especially for the descent
  • I can do a lot more than I thought I could
  • I need to buy some hiking shoes with ankle support. My NB walking shoes had great traction, but I realized how easily I could have twisted my ankle in a few spots.  I also need shoes/boots where my feet don't slide forward in the shoe.
  • Other hikers are helpful and friendly - great conversations too.
  • I love taking pictures of fungi

  • I loved it, even with the pesky deer flies  and mosquitoes
My big take-away?  


This is different from the past, in that for the first time that I can remember, I am realizing I can do PHYSICAL things.  I've always been successful in other areas, but never have I been successful in activities involving my body.  I hated PE because I was terrible at everything that involved running, catching, throwing, having stamina.  Because I couldn't keep up with other kids, I stopped doing those things, and therefore stopped doing other physical things.  NO MORE!

That's why this little hike was so empowering for me.  I'm not planning to hike the Appalachian Trail or back country.  But I am going to buy some supportive hiking shoes, and hit some other easy trails, and this fall, by golly, I'm going to climb Mt. Monadnock!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Good News!

I had a checkup with my endocrinologist yesterday.  I've been seeing her for about 7 years, for 2 different conditions, and I've been taking 2 different medications. One of those conditions is diabetes, and I've been taking 2250mg of metformin daily for over 5 years.  As a result of my hard work with my diet and exercise program, the last 2 A1C checks have brought my numbers down to 5.6%.  So yesterday we cut my metformin down by half, and eliminated the other med entirely!  If my A1C stays where it is when I have it checked again, I will be off the metformin entirely.  And as much as I have liked her, she said there would be no need to see her anymore - I could save money on my specialist co-pay, and have my PCP monitor my A1C!  So I'm doing a happy dance on my way out to yoga class!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Early Morning Joy

For the past week or so, I've gotten back into the habit of heading out to the deck with my coffee BEFORE heading to my computer.  I sit out there, weather permitting, with my iPad and read my Bible as the sun peeks up over the trees that line my yard.  The birds are busy, and sometimes their songs distract me from my meditation.  Usually though, the morning music reminds of the beauty of God's creation.

This morning was cool and dry, especially compared with the heat and humidity of the past few days.  A house wren was singing its heart out at the top of a pine tree, and a cardinal was calling from the other side of the yard.  A robin sang its cheerful morning song as it searched for breakfast.  Such delight!  Even the vehement argument that suddenly broke out between two blue jays and a crow just added to the morning.

I need to figure out a way to bottle the joy and delight and share it with others.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Turning Yourself into a Pretzel

I've taken up yoga, or what my husband calls "Turn Yourself Into a Pretzel".  It's something I've always wanted to do, but never felt confident or competent enough to try it.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm finally giving myself the go-ahead to try a lot of new things.  When a "beginners' yoga" class was offered early in April, I decided to check it out.  I persuaded a friend to join me, and the two of us found ourselves on a mat in an art gallery with a peppy instructor about our age.  She made us feel very comfortable and over the course of a few weeks, I found out that yoga was fun, and that I could do it -- not well, not competently, and certainly not prettily, but I was doing it.  That class has now ended, so I signed up for a class at a local fitness center.

What I've learned:

1.  Anyone can "do" yoga.

2.  Yoga is a practice, and it takes practice.

3.  Yoga is individual.  You do what you can, modify where you need to.

4.  You can use props to help you with some of the poses - a chair, blocks, a belt.

5.  I am more flexible than I thought.  Not as flexible as I'd like to be.  I'm improving.

6.  I still have a weak core which means I lack stability for some of the poses, like warrior II.

7.  Balance can be an issue, but as my core strength improves, my tree pose improves as do other standing poses.

8.  I'm not burning a ton of calories, but I am gaining strength.

9.  Yoga class day is my favorite day!

10.  I'm pretty sure I won't ever be able to do this:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

So Kings, Wise UP!

Psalm 2  - Common English Bible

Why do the nations rant?
    Why do the peoples rave uselessly?
 The earth’s rulers take their stand;
    the leaders scheme together
    against the Lord and
    against his anointed one.
        “We will tear off their ropes
        and throw off their chains!”
 The one who rules in heaven laughs;
    my Lord makes fun of them.

But then God speaks to them angrily;

    then he terrifies them with his fury:
        I hereby appoint my king on Zion
        my holy mountain!”
I will announce the Lord’s decision:
    He said to me, “You are my son,
        today I have become your father.
 Just ask me,
    and I will make the nations your possession;
    the far corners of the earth will be your property.
 You will smash them with an iron rod;
    you will shatter them like a pottery jar.”
 So kings, wise up!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
 Serve the Lord reverently—
    trembling,  kiss his feet
        or else he will become angry,
        and your way will be destroyed
    because his anger ignites in an instant.
But all who take refuge in the Lord are truly happy

This psalm just seems so appropriate for today's times.  I love the line:  So kings, wise up!

If today's rulers could just understand that a world where the needs of people are put first, a world where LOVE reigns, nothing else would matter.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Psalm 1

I was up a bit earlier than usual today, and I took my coffee out to the deck.  Watching the sun come up over the trees and listening to a pine warbler singing, I was surrounded by a deep peace and feeling of oneness with nature.  After a few minutes I opened my newest Bible and felt pushed to read Psalm 1.  I've just purchased the Common English Bible and am exploring it.  I read this several times to myself, and I also read it aloud.  I find reading scripture aloud helps me hear it and understand it.  I sat with it for a bit, and then read it in my usual NRSV version.   I like both versions. I think both are true to the meaning intended.  I do like the way the NRSV titles the psalm "The Two Ways."

I have no great insight to share today.  Just the feeling of calmness and peace at the beginning of what promises to be a hot, busy day.
Psalm 1 - CEB
The truly happy person
    doesn’t follow wicked advice,
    doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
    and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.
Instead of doing those things,
    these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
    and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!
They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
    which bears fruit at just the right time
    and whose leaves don’t fade.
        Whatever they do succeeds.
That’s not true for the wicked!
    They are like dust that the wind blows away.
And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—
    neither will sinners
    in the assembly of the righteous.
The Lord is intimately acquainted
    with the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked is destroyed.

Psalm 1  - NRSV

The Two Ways

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

I have no great insight to share today.  Just the feeling of calmness and peace at the beginning of what promises to be a hot, busy day.