November Reflections

_dsc8309This month was filled with a some real highs and lows.  One of the highs was planning a surprise party for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary with my brothers (assisted by their wives) and seeing so many beloved people from our youth.  There were lots of shenanigans and fun but most importantly a Thanksgiving most of us won’t ever forget.  Another highlight was working with Dennis at an experiential training we gave to a group of people from all over the country.  It’s such a gift to be able to work with each other (most of the time, that is) ;-).  Other highs were visits from Dennis’ Aunt from Ohio and seeing my friend, Suzanne, be a featured poet at a local open reading.

A definite low was finding out a good friend is battling an aggressive breast cancer.  The double whammy was getting sick (a rare three week wipe-out sick) and being unable to visit her.  (I look forward to writing about answered prayers and healing in the months to come – latest – tumor shrinking.)  The election was another low for me.  It would have been anyways, no matter who would have won.  Finally, with advent season upon us, I find it’s a special time to embrace the gifts that have been given to us (a free country) but at the same time acknowledging the devastating experiences here on earth (cancer, poverty, racism) for with Jesus’s birth automatically comes with a knowledge of his eventual shame-filled death.

Photo Review:

img_6664A much enjoyed evening at Gatsby’s Books with my good friend and poet, Suzanne O’Connell, who was a featured poet.  img_6689Flying off to my hometown…yup, in a propeller plane — well not exactly, I land two hours a way from my hometown and then drive.  We made it in record speed this year since we took an LAX 6 am flight…home by 1 pm.dsc_0833Leftovers. dsc_0856Camouflage.  Can you see him? img_6695 No words.img_6718See above._dsc8330Family Photo Shenanigans_dsc8406My parents…Almost there — 50!!  Official New Year’s Eve.

Quotes to Chew On:

From Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife

“‘…we-ness’ is among the most important qualities of a happy marriage.  ‘If we-ness isn’t there by the time you get to fifteen years,’ he said, ‘you’re in trouble.’…That long-term study of thriving couples uncovered two other intriguing insights.  The most controversial is that the wives are, as Levenson put it, ‘the emotional centers, the emotional historians, and the emotional thermostats of the marriage.’ …’And one thing we found is that when wives are emotionally taken care of by their husbands, they will help their husbands in moments of conflict.  They will invest in the relationship..  But if the wives are distressed and not soothed or calmed, they will disinvest, and this is when the couples we studied did not do as well as others.’ (p.182-3) (Robert Levenson quoted)

“What are your top character strengths?” How can you pull on those strengths even more during this time of struggle, and what would change, what burden would be lessened, if you did that?” (p. 256)

“If you want a healthy glow and a happy midlife, here’s a secret.  Give it away: your time, your money, whatever is at your disposal, give it away to someone else.  Especially your time.” (p. 300)

“I must shift my eyes from the next step on the ladder, the one just outside of my reach, and scan the horizon for my unique contribution, that combination of storytelling and voice that I am tailor-made for — something, perhaps, that no one can do quite the way I can.” – p. 316

From Natalie Goldberg, The Great Spring…

“…there is no cure for human life, except to live it, being willing to rip off the blinders as we go and let the light in.” – p. 129

“Writing doesn’t ask you to be any different from who you are right now.  Not better, not more.” – p. 161

“Death is only half the story.  The other half is life, how to navigate in these slippery waters, how to keep the humbling knowledge of our end in sight.  We all seem to blow it one way or another, but how important it is to admit our mistakes, not turn our back on anything.  It’s in the details of what we have done that we can find our liberation…We need stories to remind us and to mirror our reality.  And we need writers to record them.” – p. 166

“It’s a naked thing to show that we are fractured, that we do not have it all together.  Broken all the way through to the bottom.  What freedom is that, to be what we are in the moment, even if it’s unacceptable.” p.176

Songs on Repeat Mode:

Walls by Kings of Leon

I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North

Even So Come by Passion

It’s Quiet Uptown by Kelly Clarkson

Round Here by Counting Crows

Setting the World on Fire by Kenny Chesney and Pink

On My Nightstand:

Redemption Road by John Hart (excellent– a thriller)

Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (excellent!)

The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable? About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life by Patrick Lencioni (not well written but some good information)

Great by Choice by Jim Collins (enjoying)

The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson (great so far)

May you have an amazing Christmas Season.



photo credit for top picture, family photo with golf carts and my parents — Lovejoy Photography

1 thought on “November Reflections

  1. This was so amazing to be such a small part of thank you for sharing your family love of one another! God has blessed this family and I say Amen! Your very dear friend Ruthie Hagemeister

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