Prayer in the Park

Yesterday my spouse and I were taking a morning walk in our neighborhood. We have the luxury of a fairly long “greenbelt” of parkway through the area, with lots of trees and grass. It’s the best thing about the neighborhood, really. It has been a saving grace for when most things have been closed due to the COVID restrictions here in California. The latest restrictions have been a rollback of places and times available to the regular citizen as the infection rate has gone up in my state. The rollback has not been met with much joy by, well, anyone, here. The months of quarantine have been long.

While we were walking, we approached a sizeable group of younger men seated in chairs on the grass, facing another man. The men were a diverse group, different skin tones and ethnic backgrounds. They fanned out underneath a large shade tree.

It became clear that this was a Bible study or church group gathering. Each person was distanced from the other, and they were outdoors, with no tent. The sky was a beautiful crisp blue.

As we passed, the man at the front of the group led them in prayer.

I caught the tail end of his prayer, and raised my hand in respect, as I might do inside a brick and mortar church during services.

“…we pray, in Jesus’ name…Amen.”

Amen, brother.

I respect the intention of getting together with God, outside the building, if it is closed to you for services. Pray with a stubborn faith.

If you can’t get in to the church, take the church outside with you.

The sight of these men together in peaceful worship gave me joy.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Gratitude 2020 – Countdown to Thanksgiving

I took a couple days off from posting. Not from writing down my gratitude lists, but from declaring them publicly. I needed to rest. So rest I did.

I’m not usually the type of person to give myself permission to rest. I’ve been feirly busy since I was a teen in high school with a couple of jobs, extracrricular activity, you name it. Then later, full time schooling, jobs, activities.

Starting a family added to the busy. Still I managed to go to work, have kids, get a secondary degree. I never felt like I could rest, even when I wanted to.

Not too long ago, I had a job that ratcheted up the imbalance of obligation and work to never before seen heights. In part, the imbalance was set by trauma. More than six catastrophic events, at least that’s what the post-critical-incident debriefing therapist told me, had occurred in approximately six months.

I could feel every one of those events, ringing in my bones like the thrum of a singing bowl. Or the scrape of nails on blackboards. If you know what a blackboard is, you’re of a certain age. Mature, like me.

After leaving the super catastrophic situation I was in, I found I no longer wanted to burn for work, for obligation, for anything that wasn’t in line with a higher vision for me. And so I took a good hard look at what mattered.

Then the pandemic made me take many more moments to consider what matters.

The bottom line is this: rest is essential.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

We can work hard and drive at a target. That’s commendable. But we may burn out. Burn up. Land face down in the dirt. And it’s hard to get up when you’ve turned yourself into a twitching, irritable individual who trusts no one.

But taking rest when needed is not a bad thing. It’s actually a very good thing. Rest. If that means sleeping, or lounging, or just putting a few strong goals aside until your energy is up again.

It’s like running and walking. If you alternate, you last longer. You can go miles with intervals, when you may not be able to go very far at all on a sprint.

Meanwhile, my gratitude is for those who have helped me learn how to, remember how to, and feel ok with taking time to rest.

I’m grateful for the lesson. Thankful that I “got it” after all these years.

It’s never too late to learn something new.


Are you superstitious?

It’s Friday the 13th, again, in 2020, with crows.

Any film buff will tell you that Friday the 13th is not an auspicious day for college students—or women in general. There’s a whole load of horror films on the topic.

On the other hand, ask any Wiccan and they might say Friday the 13th is actually a holy day, for a number of reasons.

And just lately, we’ve been adopted by two crows. Every time I leave the house to go for a walk, there are a pair of crows on the lawn in front. I’ve not been quick enough to capture them by photo, but they are definitely new neighbors. We didn’t have crows before, well, yesterday.

These fellow are distant relatives of my new neighbor crows.

As to the day being portentous, I think of Friday the 13th as definitely a significant day this year. Friday the 13th, for my town, was when my local area started making huge plans to shut things down, cancel large events, and initiate some closure procedures for the anticipated COVID-19 onslaught.

Hard to believe we’ve been on quarantine/restrictive procedures for eight months now. It’s uncertain when the new normal will become tolerable.

But, back to the crows.

I remember a saying from when I was a kid. I had to look it up. The significance of crows showing up and roosting at your home has a long history. People have written poems about it. I include a graphic below. At least it isn’t only one crow. (One for sorrow.) I was pleased that there were two.

Maybe this Friday the 13th is a bookend for a bookshelf of days that were littered with delays, fearmongering, illness, and business failures.

I’m ready for the COVID story to end. Looking forward with some hope.

Those two crows were a sign. Two crows for joy. I’ll take it, however I can.

I hope wherever you are, you’re getting ready to experience joy. I hope it lands on your roof, and enters your home.

Be blessed, all.

Sending you joy.

Gratitude 2020 – Day 4

It’s Monday in the Valley and there’s freeze warning until 9 AM.

My cell phone tells me it’s 34 degrees outside. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that a week or so ago we were in the 80s. I guess California winter has arrived. Which brings me to my #gratitude for the morning.

#Thankful for heaters that work and warm, fuzzy pajamas. Also, even though working from home during a pandemic has its low points, today I am really pleased I do not have to commute to the office, only to shiver all day and break out my Santa Claus half-handers!

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

I know I’ll be warm today. That’s a big blessing.

Run with a Mask or No?

I debated with myself a bit yesterday about how I would approach the morning. I needed to complete two runs by Sunday to stay on track with RunBet but the air and the heat this week have been unusually challenging. The sky has been red–the sun blocked by haze and smoke. I posted before and after my run on FB:

Today I will be running with a mask. Or, I guess I should call it, jogga-waddling. I’ll be moving as fast as I can for about 40 minutes. Then coming inside and washing the remains of someone’s worldly possessions off of my skin. 😬 It has to be done. The jog and the wash. I will be testing the theory that you should not run with a mask on. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

ON Facebook
Smoke occludes the morning sun in Sacramento, California, due to ongoing fires

#StrangeObsession #NotMinimizingIt #CaliforniaBurning


When I was out there, I had time to think. It wasn’t as bad I thought, getting outside about 40 minutes before sunrise. I did check the AQI and was well hydrated. And I got my run done. As promised, I reported the mask experiment on social media.

The morning run is done. What I learned: masks while running suck. Even lightweight medical office masks. About 5 minutes in, I had to take mine off. I felt like I was suffocating. I’d rather get a whiff of faint campfire than slowly choke on my own exhaust. Two, it’s wonderful to run in my neighborhood before dawn. No one was out. It was me and a canopy of trees. Divine. And three, the level of commitment I seem to have recently made to running is nothing short of surprising. I wasn’t able to talk myself out of it this morning. Now to dissect why that is and apply it in other areas of life. I think the key here is #commitment. In any event, hope your Friday is good and that you are safe wherever you are.

FACEBOOK POST

A friend of mine commented that he “wussed out” on his run today. I responded — barely recognizing myself. Who have I become? It’s mind-boggling.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. If you keep an eye on the AQI and go when it’s clearing a little do to dew in the air, you should be fine. Depending on how long you’re going for, though! Plus give yourself permission to go slow and to tap out if you need to. I feel MUCH better now that I got ‘er done!

Final Facebook post for the day

Lesson for the day: #KeepOnRunnin

Troubling Times

Well, we had to take a trip to COVID Central, aka Kaiser South ER tonight. I was there last about 5 years ago, with a family member. In the age of COVID it is utterly disheartening to be in that space. Entry to the ER is through a metal detector. TSA on steroids. Single patients spaced in separate chairs in the waiting room. I watched as a very elderly African American couple were separated because she couldn’t go in with him–thank you, COVID. An older Asian female who couldn’t remember her name. A mother there, with her crying baby. No one could comfort that little one. Lots of folks, from all cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, with the common denominator of poverty and illness.

I guess if we have one thing that unites us, it’s pain. I hope that these extreme precautions actually have some benefit. Separating family during these times is heartbreaking. For the record, we had to leave our family member there for the time being. This is not a world I recognize. I can’t say I like it very much, at the moment.

Praying for healing. For my family. For you. For them. For all of us.

Red Cross worker
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

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