A Winning Book

PictureWe had been driven out of our house this past Saturday for showings, so one stop was at the library. Honestly, I don’t patronize the library much any more, the physical one at least. I get audiobooks and e-books, and I listen to podcasts and read political articles online. So my former at-least-once-a-week library habit has dwindled away to almost nothing. But we needed a place to hang out, so there we went. One of my favorite places at this branch is the nonfiction new book shelves at the top of the stairs. I couldn’t tell you how many great discoveries I’ve made there. Saturday was no exception; I picked this book off the shelf and sat down in one of the chairs upstairs, thinking that I’d read a chapter or two, and I was hooked. I ended up reading all but two chapters, which for me nowadays is kind of a record, and I made sure to read the conclusion.

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How Happy Have We Been in this House?

Tomato ripening on the vineWell, yesterday the “for sale” sign went up on our front lawn. We are selling our lovely, lovely house (note that I don’t use the word “home”). I can still remember the day that we pulled up in the driveway and opened the front door. My heart just about stopped as I saw the soaring living room. (The heart issue might also have come from the fact that we’d set off the burglar alarm.) Then I remember the months-long stretch when the bank couldn’t seem to make up its mind to go ahead and sell us the house.

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Figuring out the Final Happiness Quotient.

Woman in red dressed for winterTwo events coming up for me, one very long-range and one occurring next week:

The long-range one is a trip that Jim and I are discussing that we’d like to take for our 25th wedding anniversary, which takes place on May 30. We’ve decided that we’re going to go to France, probably sometime in September when the tourist tsunami has passed but the weather is still nice. Right now the trip is in the “wouldn’t it be fun” phase.

 

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Small Choices with Big Consequences

boy at crossroads in a mazeI wrote last weekend about my “small, cushy adventure” at the Bible Study Fellowship area-wide conference at the Denver Convention Center. A great time of learning and blessing, And my position of being a group leader has also been a source of those same things. How did this all come about? From two very small choices. First of all, I wanted to join a daytime Bible study that fit in with my son’s then-schedule of taking the light rail to the Auraria campus for his classes. I did some online searches and found that there was a location just three miles from home with times that made it very doable for me to give him a ride. 

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A New Year’s Regret

Christmas lights along the rafterI keep thinking about the evening of Dec. 31st, the day our out-of-town company left. My husband and I had planned to go on our usual outing to the Denver Botanic Gardens “Blossoms of Light” exhibition. We’ve done this now for several years running, and as we pace down the pathways lined with beautiful lights strung imaginatively over the plants we try to talk about what we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I wrote about this outing last year, for example, when we left it until the very last minute on the very last day, having to drive around for awhile searching for a place to park.

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Memories of an Auschwitz Survivor.

Gateway of Auschwitz Death Camp: Work Makes You FreeThis morning I was driving across town listening to the radio and heard an interview with a Boulder man who survived Auschwitz. He was quite a character. No trace of self-pity at all. Flashes of very dry humor. Matter-of-fact accounting of incredibly horrible events, such as seeing his father beaten to death with a shovel for insulting a guard. Walter Plywaski was nine when Nazi soldiers came into his father’s pharmacy in Poland and told the Jewish family they had half an hour to leave.

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Post-Party Analysis

pile of utensils, ingredients, and bowls on a cluttered kitchen counterAlthough I’ve temporarily discontinued my posting on the “Intentional Hospitality” blog I’m still cooking away. Last night I provided the desserts and punches for my church’s Christmas banquet. This turned out to be yet another one of those “I-thought-I-was-going-to-have-an-easy-time-of-it-but-I-was-wrong” episodes in my life. I had made my famous orange-almond biscotti before the Cherry Creek Chorale’s concert over a week ago with the intention of putting them together into tree shapes held together by frosting, but I just ran out of steam and time, so I ended up putting the baked biscotti into the freezer with the intention of building the trees for this party.

 I kept thinking, ‘I have the biscotti made, so all I have to do is make the cranberry tarts and the chocolate peppermint crunch cookies. I’ll do that Sunday afternoon and still have time to clean up the kitchen.’ What was I smokin’? I worked like a dog all afternoon just to get everything made and still ran out of time for making the frosting for those blasted biscotti. Some very helpful people who came early pitched in, and one woman suggested that we could stack the biscotti plain. I wish I had a picture of the beautiful platter she made. People were saying, “You’re doing Jenga!” It was great.

Well, all was well in the end. I could have done a lot more prep on Saturday and saved myself having a nervous breakdown Sunday. But the important thing is that everything was on the tables, ready to go, and that people had a good time. I’ve now gotten through my two big parties for December, but there’s more to come on the family front. My sister- and brother-in-law get here Friday, and we’ll have many get-togethers during the week they’re here. So I’ll have lots of opportunities to either a) procrastinate or b) be proactive (pro-acticate?).

If the items mentioned above sound intriguing, I do have posted recipes for three of them. Here are the links:

​For the biscotti trees: “A Beautiful Celebratory Dessert”

For the cranberry tarts and pink egg nog: “Second Time Is the Charm!”

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Are You Bearing an Unnecessary Forgiveness Burden?

Cow struggling to pull a cart loaded with sacks For some reason I’ve been thinking lately about the whole concept of forgiveness, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a lot of inaccurate info out there on it. (Astounding, I know.) How does this apply to happiness, you ask? Forgiveness, rightly understood, is a key component. It is impossible to be happy if you’re walking around stewing about something somebody did to you.

You also can’t be happy if you’re carrying around load of guilt because you’re trying to forgive a wrong in the wrong way.

So let’s take a look at three correctives to these forgiveness mistakes:

 1. You can’t forgive on the behalf of someone else.

Remember way, way back when the “Access Hollywood” tapes surfaced, with a ten-years-younger Donald Trump bragging about assaulting women?

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Time to Learn Emotional Hygiene?

There’s a program on NPR called “The TED Radio Hour.” I was listening to it yesterday as I drove across town to a concert. Fascinating! Here’s the entire TED talk that’s referenced in the show. Note here that I (although perhaps not Dr. Winch) would make a distinction between mental/emotional health on the one hand and spiritual health on the other. But I found his ideas to be very intriguing. Be sure you listen to the whole thing. He has some great stories!

Are You Philip or Andrew?

Wood carving of Jesus Feeding the 5000The Bible is far more than just a storybook, a collection of moralistic tales. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t fascinating lessons to be learned, along with the vastly more important doctrinal issues.

So, as I’ve said about five million times, I belong to a wonderful Bible study organization, Bible Study Fellowship International.

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