These Moments

I know these moments don’t sound like big deals in the whole scheme of things – but – they mean something to me.

Today I went into the Safeway in Anacortes to get a mocha at the Starbucks there. After I got in the store I thought I should get some flour for pie-making. On the way to the flour I thought this might be a good time to get the cranberry sauce, too. Also dinner rolls. And sweet potatoes. Of course I hadn’t picked up a basket on my way in, because I thought I was just going to get a mocha, right? – so now I’m standing in a long Thanksgiving grocery-shopping line with my arms full. My arms are starting to get tired. Suddenly this young man appears – he doesn’t work at Safeway, he’s just another customer like myself – and he says, “I thought maybe you could use a basket” and hands me a basket to put all my stuff in. And I thank him profusely and take the basket and he smiles and goes on his way. People going out of their way to be kind to other people just tickles me. 🙂 And, maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems like people have been making more of an effort to show kindness in the last couple weeks.

So when I’d come into Safeway there was a musician playing a banjo out front and I’d planned on giving him a tip – but now I saw him packing up – so before I bought my mocha I went out to put a buck in his banjo case – and he smiled and thanked me and I asked him if he’d like a coffee – and he said no, he was fine, but thanked me for the offer, and wished me a happy Thanksgiving.

I went back in the store to get my mocha – the original reason I’d come to Safeway in the first place – and the coffee machine wasn’t working. But it didn’t matter! I was meant to go in there today. 🙂

On the way back from Anacortes I suddenly got it in my noggin to stop off at the dike for a quick walk. There was only one other car there – a man and his corgi were about ten yards ahead of me on the trail. As soon as I stepped onto the path the corgi turned around and started running back to me – a big friendly grin on his face – like I was an old friend and he was just so happy to see me! So I reached out and petted him and his human called him back and he took one last look at me and then went back to his human and they went around a bend in the path. I walked along a little longer, and suddenly the dog came racing around the bend and ran back to me again – just had to give me one more greeting. I love happy dogs who see a new friend in every person they encounter.

And then that song came into my head – “My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation…” and I was just filled with such joy to be alive.

That is all. Carry on then…
Karen

 

Karen in the Kitchen

First, I will don my way cool apron that my friend from Canada sent me, and that has the Canadian word “Eh?” written on it in really flamboyant letters.  Of course, putting on the apron isn’t going to actually keep me from having flour all over me by the end of my culinary adventure – but I think I look sort of cute in it. And that’s the important thing.048

Next I will haul the turkey out of the fridge, where it’s been thawing since Sunday. I will dice home-grown onion and garlic, apples from our orchard (yes, apples – using apples in turkey stuffing is a Karen tradition – because I, traditionally and invariably, FORGET TO BUY CELERY!!! and then I find myself scrambling around the kitchen, looking for something crunchy I can throw in the dressing… and… yeah… well… apples …and, true to tradition, I just realized that I, once again, FORGOT THE CELERY!!!), and toasted Dave’s Killer Whole Grain Bread (the bread will be toasted, not Dave).  I’ll sprinkle sage and rosemary over everything that’s within arm’s reach (this includes the dog, the cats, and the sons). Then I will yank out the turkey’s innerds, and replace it with toasted Dave, and put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 325 degree oven.

Pie-making comes next. I love making pies. There’s something kind of comforting about pie-making. I especially love making pies when there’s rain pounding against the windows, and a fire in the woodstove – the rain adds a certain ambiance, and it looks like we might be getting a lot of ambiance today.  I’ll combine the flour (2 cups), and butter (2 tbs, plus 2/3 cup) and water (6 tbs) in a bowl, and then grab half of it and roll it out on a floured cutting board, and lay it in the bottom of my glass pie plate. The bottom crust will be a picture of perfection – it will be seamless and smooth. Next, I’ll put the frozen blackberries that I picked last summer into the pie shell. I’ll add 4 or 5 tbs of flour, and 6 tbs of sugar, and loosely mix the pie’s filling.  Now it’s time to roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. The top crust is the crust that everyone will see. It will have holes and tears in it. That is another Karen tradition. Once I’ve got my holey crust attached to the pie, I’ll lightly sprinkle sugar over the top, to make the pie look sort of sparkly when it’s done.

By the time we sit down for our feast, our plates will be full of turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce, and we’ll be half-way through dinner before someone – probably one of the sons – will ask me about the dinner rolls. And they will either be burning in the oven, or still sitting in the cupboard. It is another Karen tradition.

May your holidays be filled with a feast of love and laughter.  And don’t forget the dinner rolls.

– Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

Karen in the Kitchen

First, I will don my way cool apron that my friend from Canada sent me, and that has the Canadian word “Eh?” written on it in really flamboyant letters.  Of course, putting on the apron isn’t going to actually keep me from having flour all over me by the end of my culinary adventure – but I think I look sort of cute in it. And that’s the important thing.

048

Next I will haul the turkey out of the fridge, where it’s been thawing since Sunday. I will dice home-grown onion and garlic, apples from our orchard (yes, apples – using apples in turkey stuffing is a Karen tradition – because I, traditionally and invariably, FORGET TO BUY CELERY!!! and then I find myself scrambling around the kitchen, looking for something crunchy I can throw in the dressing… and… yeah… well… apples …and, true to tradition, I just realized that I, once again, FORGOT THE CELERY!!!), and toasted Dave’s Killer Whole Grain Bread (the bread will be toasted, not Dave).  I’ll sprinkle sage and rosemary over everything that’s within arm’s reach (this includes the dog, the cats, and the sons). Then I will yank out the turkey’s innerds, and replace it with toasted Dave, and put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 325 degree oven.

Pie-making comes next. I love making pies. There’s something kind of comforting about pie-making. I especially love making pies when there’s rain pounding against the windows, and a fire in the woodstove – the rain adds a certain ambiance, and it looks like we might be getting a lot of ambiance today.  I’ll combine the flour (2 cups), and butter (2 tbs, plus 2/3 cup) and water (6 tbs) in a bowl, and then grab half of it and roll it out on a floured cutting board, and lay it in the bottom of my glass pie plate. The bottom crust will be a picture of perfection – it will be seamless and smooth. Next, I’ll put the frozen blackberries that I picked last summer into the pie shell. I’ll add 4 or 5 tbs of flour, and 6 tbs of sugar, and loosely mix the pie’s filling.  Now it’s time to roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. The top crust is the crust that everyone will see. It will have holes and tears in it. That is another Karen tradition. Once I’ve got my holey crust attached to the pie, I’ll lightly sprinkle sugar over the top, to make the pie look sort of sparkly when it’s done.

By the time we sit down for our feast, our plates will be full of turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce, and we’ll be half-way through dinner before someone – probably one of the sons – will ask me about the dinner rolls. And they will either be burning in the oven, or still sitting in the cupboard. It is another Karen tradition.

May your holidays be filled with a feast of love and laughter.  And don’t forget the dinner rolls.

– Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

http://www.amazon.com/Madcap-Christian-Scientists-Christmas-Volume/dp/1500855154/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417005354&sr=1-3

The Gift of Gratitude

In God I find a precious gift
That knows no fear, no feud,
That glows so still, serene and pure:
The gift of gratitude.
– Christian Science Hymnal, #146

Monday is my errand-running, photo-taking, take-time-to-create-something, walk-on-the-Bellingham-boardwalk day. It is a sacred day for me – the day I set aside every week to be an explorer, and an earth-tourist.  I am hugely grateful for the gift of Monday.

With confidence it hails each task,
With courage undismayed,
For naught against Infinity
Can ever be arrayed.
– Christian Science Hymnal, #`146

I had a boatload to accomplish yesterday – needed to prepare readings for Wednesday night, mark my books for Thanksgiving, and choose hymns for Wednesday, Thanksgiving and the Sunday morning church services; had photos and writing I needed to print; books and packages that needed to be mailed;  food for Thanksgiving that needed to be picked up; and a Thanksgiving service that needed to be rehearsed. When I looked at all that needed to be done, I was a little overwhelmed. But, taking each thing one at a time, step-by-step, trusting in God, Love, I was able to get the bulk of it done by noon.

The oldest son is home from university, and at noon – just about the time I’d finished getting most of my to-do list done – asked me if I was planning to go up to Bellingham for my walk. I told him I was, and asked him if he’d like to join me. Within the hour both my sons had joined me for an expedition to Bellingham’s Boulevard Park.

It was good to be all together again – good to hear the rascally sons laughing with each other again, wonderful to be able to sit down together at Mambo’s Italian Restaurant, eating pizza and calzones, and talking about books we’re reading, plans for the future, good memories from the past. It was just good to be in the same space and time together.

So much good! Family and friends, home, satisfying work, endless opportunities to give and share and love…

I am enjoying the moments of Life. Right now. I’m not going to wait for Thanksgiving to be grateful. The gift of gratitude is one gift we don’t need to wait to open. 🙂

Thank you, Life!

In seamless gratitude I weave
A silent, healing prayer,
With shining threads of ceaseless joy;
For man is God’s great heir.

– Christian Science Hymnal, #`146