Saturday, October 15, 2011

Warm Toes, Warm Tushie

As the fall days alternate between periods of summer like temperatures, and decidedly cooler temps, I am enjoying two recent indulgences.

The first is my heated bathroom floor.  Installed last winter, we turned it off in the spring, rather enjoying the cool tile on our feet duirng the hot summer.  Paul turned the thermostat back up in September - which seemed a little early to me (our heat hasn't even been on yet this year.)  But one morning, I stepped on the bathroom floor with my bare feet, and noticed it was warm.  Aaahh!  How nice!  My brother, who did  most of the work for us, was the one who suggestd the heated floor.  Only when I felt a sample heated tile at the home improvement store did I fully realize how nice it would be.  Caryl said that sadly, we would probably take that warmth for granted after a while.  The bathroom remodeling job was much needed, and we did it right - excellent quality cabinets, lots of new plumbing, everything matching towels and bathmats.  As I worried a bit about the cost, Paul pointed out we were only going to do it once - and it hadn't been done since before we bought the house nearly 30 years ago. Time for a makeover. 

Shortly after the bathroom was finished, I had the trusty old green 1998 Subaru inspected.  Our mechanic solemnly told me, when I picked it up, "It's good for now, but it won't pass inspection another year - the frame is showing some real signs of rust.  So we knew the time had come to start thinking about a new car - or at least a new to us new car.  We finally got around to it in the summer.

In August we picked up a spiffy looking white Subaru - ten years newer than the old one - a 2008.  A lot has changed in ten plus years of cars - starting with an electronic key to open the doors.  I have power windows instead of crank windows.  I had to exchange my old cassettes for CD's, and instead of using a lever to move my car seat forward, it's all electric.  (Actually that's a nuisance - it takes LONGER to use the electric button than it did the old lever!)  But the most indulgent thing of all is the heated seats in the front.  And I've turned mine on a couple times already.  No need to heat the entire car - in fact it won't warm up between my house and the parking lot at work since I live so close.  But that little switch turns on the warmth to my tushie in just a few seconds. 

Now that's a blessing - warm toes in the morning, and a warm tushie in my car. 
And I'm still not taking either one for granted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: Praying in the Messiness of Life, by Linda Douty

The title was appealing. Whose life doesn’t seem messy at times? Following a transformative experience at a Walk to Emmaus retreat years ago, I found myself wanting to pray and study more regularly and more effectively than I previously had. I struggled to find ways to do that in the midst of a busy life, and having now discovered Douty’s book, wish it had been available to me then.

I immediately identified with Douty, admiring her honesty in admitting she at first just tried harder, to reach the closeness with God that she sought. She asks, “How can I open myself to growth in this crazy, busy life? What can I actually do, rather than constantly wishing it would change?” Her book explores a variety of approaches to prayer that are extraordinarily accessible, and practical, and really make a difference.

For example, I recently needed to walk a short distance from one building on the campus of my workplace to another. Instead of just walking along, anticipating the upcoming staff meeting, I deliberately prayed a version of Douty’s syncopated steps from the chapter on Praying with the Body. With each step, I prayed, “Fa-ther, Son and Ho-ly Ghost. Fa-ther Son and Holy Ghost.” When I found myself distracted a couple times, I let it go and returned to my prayer. What an invigorating walk that turned out to be! My attitude at the meeting and through the rest of my day was far different than it otherwise would have been. Such a simple approach to prayer, and it fit right in to the busyness of my day.

Douty’s presentation of dozens of simple approaches to prayer will help any believer draw nearer to God, in a relationship that becomes more and more in depth as it becomes more and more a part of every moment of one’s busy life.

I received this book free from Upper Room Books as part of their Book Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blink and You'll Miss It!

Last evening Paul pointed out the two robins hopping around the neighbor's yard - they seemed a little confused by the patch of lingering snow.  But I was glad to finally see the birds whose song I've been hearing the last week or so.

I intended to get out this week and snap a picture of the snowdrops poking out of the snow - but by the time I actually went out with the camera, the snow was gone, and all that was left were the snowdrops. Nestled up against the house, they often bloom through a bit of snow or ice; the first indicator of spring.  The resiliency of nature.

And then this morning, it had snowed again.  So I could go back out and get another picture.  But I probably won't.

Such is spring in central New York - winter one minute, spring the next, with an occassional blast of summer thrown in just to keep you on your toes.