I’m struggling to end 2020 on a positive note. Are you? I am so ready to welcome 2021. I shall not burden you with my challenges, as I’m sure you have plenty of your own. However, as we close the calendar on 2020, I am discouraged, disappointed, and fighting to head off depression. I’ve been there before. It’s not a place I care to revisit so I fight against it with a variety of tools. One of those tools is to focus on you dear reader. Thank you for traveling with me this year. Your comments and feedback encourage me. I look forward to traveling with you again after we Welcome 2021.
People with religious tendencies sometimes ask, “Where is God in all this?” Indeed. Where? I experience God’s abundant care and presence in music, theatre, nature, literature and conversations. To thank you for traveling this rough 2020 road with me, I am sharing links to a few of my favorite things. I hope these bring you a bit of joy and peace in a historical year that has been anything but joyful and peaceful.
Handel’s Messiah – from the Opera House in Sydney Australia. Enjoy two and half hours of stunning singing and music. I listened to it as I prepared this blog for you. You may have to fast forward through some introductory comments and an occasional pop up ads, but I think you’ll find this worth it.
I chose this rendition of Handel’s masterpiece because the Sydney Opera House was on my wish list of places to visit. My parents visited there shortly after I left home to move into adult life. After I saw their photos of this place, I wanted to see it for myself. I did ten years ago. It is staggering in its beauty, acoustics, and history. Perhaps I’ll take you there in a 2021 blog. It is the only place I’ve visited where I was so impressed by the beauty of a restroom that I felt compelled to photograph it.
Stages Theatre is a delightful little Houston theatre in a brand-new facility. The staff moved in and threw a wonderful open house event this past January. Then the theatre closed to all in-person events for months starting in March. COVID strikes again. I commend this theatre to you out of double family loyalty. Husband Tom has been taking groups to events at this theatre for years. We had a group lined up to go again in October, thinking, surely by then, COVID would no longer be a chronic life-threatening presence in our lives. Ya, well. We cancelled those tickets.
One good thing that happened in 2020 is that Stages let granddaughter Sarah and her roommate finish their one-year internships. They began in August 2019 and ended in July 2019. Stages has since brought Sarah back on a limited basis to help with special COVID-appropriate events. I encourage you to check out this little gem. Thanks to COVID driving everything on-line you can enjoy what Stages offers without moving to Houston.
Time outdoors in nature eases a great many disappointments. I’m fortunate to live near several great places to take a hike. I recently visited a new one – The Houston Botanical Garden, near Hobby Airport. How it came to be is a fascinating story. Perhaps I’ll write a blog about that next year. A few weeks ago I visited it with a small group organized by the Houston Chapter of Lutherans Restoring Creation. At least COVID hasn’t eliminated opportunities to be outside once in a while. If you care about what’s happening to the planet, you’ll find lots of helpful information at the LRC website. You don’t need to be Lutheran to use their resources.
Two books that really impressed me this year were Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan and Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of 20th Century’s Most Influential Women by Harold Ivan Smith. Callahan’s book reads like an autobiography written by Joy Davidson. Joy forged a friendship with C. S. Lewis and eventually married him. Callahan’s book is is so convincing I kept checking the publication date to confirm Callahan wrote it long after Joy died. Smith’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt delves into her faith that formed her decisions. The result is a long list of accomplishments on behalf of the often overlooked and left out people who lack access to the decision makers of society.
COVID has required most conversations to take place by Zoom or phone. I am particularly grateful for:
- Pastors and church leaders who work so hard each week to make worship available via the internet.
- My women’s group that has continued to meet monthly via Zoom.
- The Tuesday Houston Text study group to help keep the brain cells from withering too much.
Would you like to chat about how the year’s gone for you? If so, contact me through my website to set up a time for a how’s-it-going-conversation.
Single Again and Not by Choice?
I remember my first holiday season alone after decades of debating which side of the family to focus on in every previous holiday season. Suddenly, it was just me and the anguish of not knowing what to do with myself. The first one year is the worst one. Really. It does get easier. There is life after loss. Part of my adjusting to my suddenly single again status was to write a novel about it. The result is Asunder. If you or someone you care about is facing life on their own again after years of being partnered, I commend the fictional Ellie’s journey to you. Her faith, friends, and family help her move through a messy transition to a new way of life.
Through the end of January Asunder is FREE (for the cost of shipping) and available NOW on my Brand New On-line Store. Let me know if you’d like me to autograph it for you.
New Year, New Voices
To welcome 2021, I’m giving this space over to five writing colleagues for the month of January. I’m taking a break after all the hard work of finishing, publishing, and promoting Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures. I, along with a team of others, struggled to get the book out in time to catch the 400th anniversary flurry of events. Then COVID-19 cancelled most off those events. My mind, body, and spirit all long for a break. Mayflower Chronicles is out there in E-book, print and audio wherever books are sold – or borrowed (Ask your library to consider stocking it). I’d love to talk to any individual or group about it, but I’m taking a mini-Sabbatical to read, walk more frequently in Gods glorious nature, and catch up with friends and family.
You’ll be in good hands with the guest bloggers. Each authors is a friend as well as an inspiring author. I’ll be back in person in February refreshed and ready to regal you with a few special love stories.
Wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year
As a special treat here’s the link to a Christmas short story I wrote about a little guy whose efforts to adopt a stray puppy go astray in a good way. The Reluctant Shepherd