Share Four Somethings – May

Something Loved

Meditations in Motion

On a Friday night in early May my husband Bill and I hosted Fire Pit Friday, a gathering of about 40 of our friends and neighbors. We provided burgers, dogs, and a vegetarian entree, along with drinks and paper products. Our amazing friends brought the rest of the food.

We sat out on our deck, talked, ate, laughed, chatted, and ate some more, as children played in the yard. When it grew dark, Bill lighted the fire in the fire pit with the help of one of our neighbors and we toasted marshmallows.

Bill and I had an early race the next day. Late in the evening, right on cue, thunder rumbled in the distance to chase off the few remaining guests, and we were able to get to bed fairly early. It was a perfect night.

Fire Pit Friday made me think of this verse from Hebrews: “Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.”  I don’t know if we hosted any angels that night, but we sure did have fun.

In fact, we had so much fun, we are going to do it again next week with a different group of friends. I love having the time and ability to be more hospitable now that I have retired. When I worked full-time, I usually felt too harried to host.

Something Said

“I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.” – Ellen Goodman

Meditations in Motion

Bill and I were fortunate enough to run a 5K this month called Joggin 4 the Noggin. When you run races, you tend to get a lot of advertising emails from timing companies and race directors, many of which I discard before reading.

I am so glad I opened the email advertising this race. It was appealing mostly because it was run on a variety of surfaces – dirt, grass, gravel, and pavement. I love that kind of race.

The race director, an energetic and kind young woman named Steph, gave a passionate pre-race speech directly from her heart about the cause the race supported, brain cancer research.

I later found out through correspondence with Steph that both her father and young nephew lost their battles to brain tumors, which is how she became involved in this cause. Steph is, in her words “not a running guru“, but she organized a fantastic race.

I could not believe the number of runners and walkers who turned out to a state park in the middle of nowhere (actually, in the middle of Central Pennsylvania) on a Saturday morning to support this meaningful cause.

Steph is a wonderful example of a committed person making the world a little bit better, one step at a time.

Something Learned

Meditations in MotionSeveral weeks ago, I was inspired by a TED talk to try a new “something” for 30 days each month. Two months ago, I wrote about my foray into adult coloring. You can read about it here. Last month, I wrote about trying to improve my photography skills by taking at least one picture every day. You can read that post here.

This month I went in a completely different direction: I am learning to juggle. I practice at least 10 minutes each day, doing the exercises from an online tutorial I found on YouTube (of course).

I start each of these ventures on the 15th of each month and I was a little bit late beginning to juggle since I had to buy racquetballs for practicing. This is my way of saying: I’m not there yet.

My goal is to be able to juggle three balls. So far, the exercises utilized first one ball, then two. Yes, I have been learning to juggle one ball. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You must learn to throw and catch the ball with each hand without looking at your hands while you are doing it.

The correct place to focus is at the apex of the toss so you can see the arc of the ball and how high it goes. My natural instinct is to look the ball into my hand. It took a while, but I can now juggle one and even two balls.

I’m having fun with it. I hope to be able to impress my grandsons.

Something Read

Meditations in Motion

My reading has been a little bit light lately, both in volume and in the “seriousness” of the books selected. For next month I need to find something to dig into, to challenge myself and learn something about the universe, but the best book I read this month was the novel “The Ninth Hour” by Alice McDermott.

I liked “The Ninth Hour” and I liked Alice McDermott’s style of writing very much. I will read more of her books.

The story began in Brooklyn in the early 20th century with the suicide of a young Irish Catholic husband, who is disappointed with his lot in life and with himself. Shortly before he took his own life, his wife, angry upon hearing the news that he had lost another job, spat out the news that their first baby was on the way.

The story follows the lives of the young widow Anne and her daughter Sally, which were intimately intertwined with the lives of nuns from a nearby convent “Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor, Congregation of Mary Before the Cross“.

McDermott writes in a lucid, comfortable style. Her storytelling ability is amazing. I could picture the scenes of a rough New York neighborhood, a dilapidated, but immaculate convent, and a pivotal train ride, which were perfectly painted. Once I began reading the book, I did not want to put it down, it was that compelling.

This book made me think about fairness (a critical concept in the story), the humanness of women who have vowed to devote their lives to Christ, and the differences between the lives of women nearly 100 years ago and today.

I recommend this book to anyone. It would be a good beach or airplane read. I finished it in a few days.

I am linking up with Heather Gerwing for her “Four Somethings”. Thanks, Heather, for giving the opportunity to think and write about four such compelling topics.

 

Also linking with Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa, Shank You Very Much for Dream Team, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Hooks and Dragons for A Bit of Everything, and Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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72 comments

  1. When I was in eighth grade, I went to a music and arts camp for 2 weeks and came home knowing how to juggle–I spent more than 15 minutes a day on this. It has been an important skill throughout my life. BTW bean bags would be easier to catch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh…bean bags. I never thought of that! You are right – the balls sometimes bounce off of each other. I am spending about 10 – 15 minutes per day on it now. I actually love it. It’s fun! I am almost there. I have progressed since I wrote the post! 🙂

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    • I am liking juggling a lot better than knitting. My last knitting project looked like a tangled mess. The juggling is going pretty well.
      Food, friends, and fire…what could be better on a Friday? (I would have mentioned wine, but it didn’t work with the alliteration thing I had going.)

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  2. I’ll bet the grandsons will be bragging on their grandmother … they’ll be doing magic tricks and you’ll be doing juggling … you can teach each other! The Fire Pit idea sounds fun too – after waiting the whole cold Winter for nice weather to arrive, what better way to celebrate than with friends and neighbors?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your evening on the deck with friends sounds wonderful! I can’t even imagine finding 40 people all willing or able to be free to get together at the same time. Everyone is always so busy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fire Pit Friday sounds like such a wonderful tradition. How fun! Our neighbors barely know each other, except for the two families right beside us. You’re very hospitable. And now a juggler too. 🙂 I’m impressed, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have lived in our neighborhood for over 30 years. Many of our neighbors have kids the same age as ours, but some have small children. We haven’t had a neighborhood get-together in a while, but it was really fun. My juggling is definitely not impressive. I would describe it as very tentative right now! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds like a great book! Good luck on your juggling; I have very poor hand/ eye coordination and honestly could not even “juggle” scarves when I was in school. The fireside party sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am happy with the progress I am making with juggling. The tutorial video I am using is very good. We had a great time at Fire Pit Friday. So glad we decided to do it.

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    • Hahahahah! Whew! I couldn’t even chew gum for 26.2. Juggling is going much better than I expected, though. The tutorial I am using is really good. even a klutz like me can make progress.

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  6. I have often wondered about juggling…but have never tried it. I’m pretty ambidextrous, so I have that going for me at least (I saw you mentioned knitting…I’m a knitting dork LOL). It’s interesting, but makes total sense, that you have to learn first with one ball, then two, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The video I am using to learn to juggle gives you exercises to try. I do a new one (plus all the old ones) each day. It’s really fun and you get to feel like you are making progress. The exercises that were once difficult become easy. I like it!

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  7. I loved reading your monthly round-up! Fire Pit Friday sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m impressed that you’re learning to juggle. It’s one of these things that I’ve always wanted to learn to do but I’ve never managed to find the time. Maybe one day…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you opens the email to
    Find the race and also the new things for 30 days I have seen for a while –
    And you are truly blessed to have such a nice group of friends like that- truly blessed
    – and it reminds me of the verse to “not forsake the gathering together” oh wait! That refers to getting together with like minded believers –
    Hahah
    But out social connections are so important and having a group of 40 is like “wow”
    I miss being in my hometown and when we moved I had grand dreams of regularly hosting parties of 40 or more – and while we have had some parties at the house – it never worked out like I planned and the pricy “double” patio set I bought in 08 – I gave half of it to new neighbors (in 2014) who needed it and they still use it – (it is still in good shape because it was just a well made set and we had no idea how long they would last)
    Anyhow – my point to share was That we had to change (I did at least) my expectations to what God had in store for my weekly and monthly social get togethers – it was different from what I was thinking but was just what we needed

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi – one more thing
    The verse about the “entertaining angels” is a special verse and I do have stories that relate
    – but I was mentioning it here because wasn’t it referring to strangers and staying open to all kinds of guests because while doing so – we might entertain angels
    – and I think the staying open to strangers and all kinds of guests is key because anyone can host a tight knit group of like minded friends – even the non believers do that
    – but when we reach out to all – stay open and vulnerable to connect to strangers with Christ’s love – well we go against the spirit of the world and the inclusivity could rescue someone or really help others – and the also have perks for us as noted
    Just thinking aloud here – thanks for reminding me of this verse (and do you know the song entertaining angels?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you are right. I do think it is important to be open to strangers and all different kinds of people. Christ showed us the way in that regard, no doubt about it. He showed us how to be inclusive and open-hearted. I think Christianity is not supposed to be an exclusive club – all are welcome.

      I do not know the song “Entertaining Angels”. I will have to Google it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We occasionally host a Fire Pit Friday (that is even what we call it!) as well! Love that you are learning to juggle, I am sure your grandkids will think it is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So funny that we came up with the same name for the get-together! We are having another one this Friday, but with a smaller and different circle of friends.

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  11. I agree with you that juggling is best learned by going all the way back to the beginning with one ball. (There’s a metaphor there somewhere.) My kids all mastered it, and I think your grandchildren WILL be impressed!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great Laurie … you make retirement sound like such fun … so many people don’t have enough interests built up, and are at a loss when they step off the treadmill. Those low-key parties are so good, especially when you get to choose the guests!!! Great post … and happy juggling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Enda, I am enjoying retirement so much. I have had some offers to teach at the college level, but I don’t want to make a commitment. We are having another party this Friday with a different (and smaller) group of friends. Juggling is addictive. Once I begin practicing, I don’t want to stop!

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  13. i love a good TEDS talk. The idea of trying something new every 30 days though sounds exhausting , i guess where i am in life at the moment is just too damned busy, but when i eventually retire, I’ll definitely be up for it x #alittlebitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your fire pit gathering sounds fabulous! We had one scheduled and the rain made it impossible, so we all moved indoors and brave Hubster did the grilling while it rained. But the hot dogs were delicious, and it sounds like yours were too! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love the idea of a firepit party. Loads of friends, good food and laughter is the perfect way to spend and evening.

    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

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