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.
“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
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.
Several 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.
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.