The Grocery Walk

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One of the nicest things about living in a small town is how close I am to almost any kind of service I need or want. In the few months I have lived here I have thought on this many times. Take today, for instance. And honestly, you could take today, because it was almost a waste for me, due to a headache that hijacked my afternoon. If it had not been for my evening grocery walk, I wouldn’t have much good to say about this Monday.

I emerged from “headache fog” late in the day to be reminded by the husband that we had no milk. I thought of a few other things that should be on the list and decided to go shopping after supper. Walmart is literally in our backyard, and a second grocery store is about a half mile away, so I took my back pack and walked in search of food.

The store farthest away had one of the items I most wanted to get, so I went there first. The cool air and the act of moving myself rhythmically felt very restoring. It reminded me of the “contemplative walking” I had heard about in doing research for my upcoming Grand Canyon hike. Walking does give me time to think, and thinking makes the distance go so fast. There is also the benefit that I see things with time to look at them, unlike when I’m driving past.

I walked past Lake Hayward where a pair of Canadian geese were already looking for a nesting spot on the small area of open water.  The sidewalks and roadsides were covered with dirt left by the melting snowbanks. I passed numerous office buildings, my favorite clothing store, and Dairy Queen.  I wondered if an ice cream would be good for someone who had just had a headache for hours…

It didn’t take long to make my purchases at Marketplace and load up the coleslaw dressing, the organic bananas and the oatmeal in the backpack. It is a good thing that I’m carrying some weight on my walks because I’m supposed to be training that way – again for the Grand Canyon hike.  (Can you tell that I’m getting a little obsessed with this hike? It’s a bucket list item and I want to do it right.)

Passing Dairy Queen again, I decided to check the DQ app on my phone and, sure enough, I had a coupon for a $.50 cone.  I was feeling kind of guilty for not having change with me and having to use a credit card for that small amount, when I checked in my pocket and realized the credit card was no longer there.  By now I should realize that when I pull one thing out of my pocket, the phone, more than one thing sometimes comes out – it’s not the first time this has happened to me.  I knew it had to be a few yards back, on the sidewalk, but even so I was surprised to find it.  It’s a strange feeling to see something you normally guard with your life, glinting in the sun in the distance on the dirty sidewalk.

I thank God, I did get my $.50 ice cream cone and it was good.

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The last stop, Walmart, added milk, celery, and raspberries to my pack. A short distance later I was home again.

Why am I writing about this? Because it amazes me and makes me feel noticed when God allows a simple thing to come along and brighten my attitude.  Often, he uses a change of scenery, getting outdoors and doing something active to restore and help me feel better when I’ve felt miserable.  There will always be times in my average life that are not so great, but God balances them and somehow leaves me feeling blessed and aware of his kindness towards me. It doesn’t take much.

Today’s Grateful Thought

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There are thousands more to come down.

There are so many beautiful places in this country. I can’t help but think that I am in one of the greatest for this time of year. I’m a “Yankee” according to some who were born here in Florida, but after 30 years in this state I think I’ve earned the right to brag on it. I’ve spent the last two days working outside in perfect weather. Perfect. I’ve driven past the sparkling blue Gulf. I’ve sat out in the yard, visiting with neighbors and listening to the birds. I’ve been watching the buds on my orchids swell and open to the sun. And tonight I’m out in the back yard listening to the crickets while I watch the brush pile of downed limbs burn, glow and spark upward. I love living in Florida.

It’s the way I’ve always experienced it. When I start anticipating a possible move, I also start a new awareness and appreciation of my present home. It’s the season when one of our rare trees in the oneacrewoods, the kapok, blooms and drops literally thousands of blossoms on the ground. The flowers are the size of badminton “birdies” and have to be raked up or they become a wet, sticky mess that sticks to tires and shoes. What could seem like a never-ending chore, since they are falling even as I rake, is instead a marvel to me. Someday I will not have this gorgeous tree to tend, and that thought makes me sad. I think of all the energy and work that has gone into the production of these showy, red missiles and wonder what the abundance means. Was it our wet fall, or does the tree know that there are hard seasons ahead?

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I raked this clean just yesterday.

The truth is, I’ve loved everywhere God has allowed me to live, even the places I didn’t want to go to at first. There are reasons for being where we end up being, and we are there to look for those reasons. Looking with expectation, curiosity, and the desire to learn is the challenge.  Tonight I’m really thankful for our time in Florida. I’m just sayin’, it’s a great place to be.

The Approach of Summer

In one direction we have this...
In one direction we have this…
and in the other direction something different approaches.
and in the other direction something different approaches.

The rains have started to come in the afternoon. I am trying to get a walk in between showers because I’ve been stationary for several days – I just need to get out.

It is more than beautiful everywhere I look because it’s all been washed and refreshed.  Little jewels of water sit on all the big leaves.  There are at least a hundred different shades of green and they all seem to vibrate, glow.

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resurrection fern coming to life
resurrection fern coming to life

This is a stunningly complex and gorgeous world.  We need to look at it and let it say what it has to say.  It’s not randomly beautiful.  It’s that way on purpose.  We’ve been given a gift and it makes me feel… well, loved I guess.  Just sayin’.

Today’s Pleasant Thoughts

wpid-20141110_153711.jpgThe everyday, mundane things are special to me.  Sometimes I hesitate to write about them, as if I have to write to entertain others and of course, these simple things would not be entertaining.  But I do write about them because to me it is a miracle that I can see the ordinary, hear voices that are dear to me, organize thoughts, feel gratitude, and appreciation welling up inside, and write.  That these marks on paper can mean anything is a miracle.  We are so marvelously made. 

My Mom’s freezer is full of cookies for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The property tax bills just came, but we have escrow accounts!  What a relief.

My client graduated to rehab and is doing very well.

My car is clean inside and out (for a change).

I’m going to get rid of the bougainvillea bush that never looks beautiful and tries to stab me every time i come near.  Gonna cut the thing down.

I don’t have to cook, there are leftovers, good ones.

It is not snowing here. It is beautiful here. It will be snowing in Wisconsin when we go for Thanksgiving. It will be beautiful there too.

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For some reason I feel relaxed and not stressed out. I’m not going to question it.

I’m not in charge of anything (but I have plenty to do).

So good to get a phone call from a voice I know and love. I don’t want to forget how my people sound.

At it’s low November position, the sun lights things up like no other time of year. Love, love, love to look.

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the light…
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the glowing light…
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ah, the light!
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the light.