Monthly Archives: March 2011
Saturdays in my mind is a day in which I want to accomplish something. I think of hiking, skiing a mountain, starting and completing a project, devouring a book, or there are plenty of other options. The reality of Saturdays is that I often crash from the week unless I have made my plans in advance. I haven’t planned well the past few weeks so thus have had some pretty low key Saturdays. When I wrote my list out today of what I wanted to accomplish it was lots of errands and I decided to add some geocaching to the mix as well. The biggest errand was a new toilet seat. Yup… my toilet seat broke this week… it didn’t slam down rather it just broke. Home Depot was incredibly overwhelming… so many choices. So I had the measurement of my seat. I’m standing in front of about 30 different options, round, oblong, plastic, wood, white, beige, and more. A number of sales staff on the way in had asked me if I needed anything. Nope, I felt I had it under control. However I hadn’t brought my measuring tape and I asked a sales associate, who quite honestly looked scared I would ask him a question, he didn’t have one. So I’ve been using my bathroom, and same toilet, for over the 10 years that I’ve lived in my apartment. Round or oblong seat… of course I knew, I was too lazy to get the measuring tape to double check. I chose wrong…another trip to Home Depot is in order. FYI I need a round seat.
What I have kept thinking this week as I encounter my seat-less commode is how even this is a blessing. Having travelled enough in developing countries I realize that clean, functioning bathroom facilities are not common in many places in the world. I don’t know if I have ever thanked God for a functioning clean toilet, with a seat. However today I found myself thinking there are many people around the world who have never encountered one, much less have one to themselves. I don’t want to miss being thankful for my indoor toilet and seat.
Laugh… yes.. but it’s true!
The pictures that follow are a few of the bathroom facilities in orphanages in Moldova.
A boys bathroom
A “teachers'” outhouse which had 2 precariously placed boards covering a hole in the ground.
Indoor toliet – this was a couple of feet of the floor, tiled in, sort of like a closet.
There is joy in the first true outing of nearly spring in New England. Today I ended work at 4pm, planning it before I learned it was aiming to be a day in the 60’s. How happy I was when I actually heard the weather report. Mid 60’s on March 18th is pure joy in New England. It’s tease of what is to come. I love the New England weather and the anticipation of what each season brings. Today it was the joy of the walk/jog/run around a local lake. It’s a lake that is often bustling with walkers, joggers, strollers, kids, dogs and their owners. There were those running that that made me wonder if they are training for the Boston Marathon. They look like they never stopped training or running… it’s about a month away now. Couples walk hand and hand and others have clearly set new goals for themselves for this emerging new season. Personally I go outside and “play” year round as much as possible and change my sports each season. Yet each new season also always has the “first.” The first bike ride, ski day, lake swim, hike, etc. So though I go outside and “play” regularly today felt different. As I ran today there was no jacket or long pants. Despite the last pieces of ice holding out on the edges of the lake it was shorts and t-shirt weather. It is this “first” outing each year that makes me smile and think of how there will soon be the smells of spring and the shades of green that can only be seen in the new spring. Today I don’t want to miss out on recognizing the spring season is trying to emerge.
I tried yoga for the first time today. I don’t think my attempts at a couple of positions using Wii Fit counted. So today was the first time. Because it is also on my 40 for 40 list it can also be summed up as I don’t want to miss trying yoga. The class I chose, instructor and studio, seemed from the website to be focused on stretching, moving, and body awareness rather than on spiritual awareness. That was important to me because I didn’t want to be thinking in a class about whether I agreed with what the instructor was saying (spiritually speaking) when my goal is stretching, relaxing, balance, etc. Actually I didn’t know quite what to expect, though a friend told me the instructor was good and it would be an easy first class. My intrigue in yoga lies however more in the classes that friends will say “kicked my butt.” I sort of think that might be the type of yoga that I might also like to try. Yet today I spent $9, which was a donation to a local charity, stretched a lot and listened to my breathing. In no way did I do anything in the class that would make me sore later yet I liked it.
I enjoyed learning the names of a few poses that have made it to popular culture (I have now done my first downward dog). My favorite was the “Warrior Pose.” Quite honestly I like the name, and the type of person it conjures up in my mind. It was a pose that we were up on our feet for and it felt strong and alert. However conversely near the end of the class I nearly fell asleep. As it was after so much stretching, and the instructor’s calm voice through the poses, I thought to myself… “somehow I don’t settle myself like this down at home, this is pretty good, I might come back, it was worth $9.” It seems that is what much of yoga is, settling down to listen to yourself and being still. It’s a practice that I have a very very hard time with. I’m often struck with a sense of frustration with myself when I am not “doing” of what I am doing appears to have little value. So yoga was good for me. I promptly went home, chilled out a bit more until I went for a run/walk and now I am sore as I haven’t run much, it’s been a long winter.
I nearly missed it. I went to the community Bible Study group I attend last night and realized it was Ash Wednesday. This was of course after I ate a very tasty cookie with some amazing caramel in it. I live in a very Catholic dominated area. Though I had driven by a church with many many cars around it I didn’t think much of it, despite it being the middle of the week. The car ride to study included a discussion of my friends’ son. He decided, without their encouragement, to observe lent and “fast” from unnecessary internet. Then Amanda came in with ashes on her forehead and I was further struck by the importance of the day. Here I was finishing up my cookie and thinking about a second and I was disappointed in myself. The cookie is of significance as for the last 3 years I have given up sweets, in all forms, for Lent.
If you rewind 4 years observing Lent is nothing I had ever done. I never thought I would be able to follow through and then observing Lent during one seasons has turned into 3 observed seasons. The discipline has meant to me denying just a little part of myself in anticipation of Easter. My disappointment in myself is not that I broke this lent tradition, and quite honestly I would like to observe lent in some way this year, it was about not slowing down. Though I have been spending time in Bible reading and prayer it has been more rushed than I would like. I have not been thinking that Easter is coming. Though I have heard Easter mentioned at church, and seen the chocolate bunnies and yellow peeps out, I didn’t pause. I have not paused to reflect on what this season will mean for me. I nearly missed it. Yet I am so very thankful that a teenager’s Lenten internet fast and Amanda’s observance of Ash Wednesday jarred me back to what is important. The Cross of Christ, and all that it represents, is central to my life. The day that we celebrate Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is not just a day rather it is core to my life and all that I believe and should be celebrating and living for each day.
I went to a Catholic Mass for a funeral on Saturday and the crucifix hung boldly over the front altar as it does in all Catholic Churches. The body of Christ still on the cross has always been hard for me. This church though had another cross at the back of the church that you would only see if you lifted your eyes up as you looked on your way out. It was another cross with a vision of Jesus alive with his arms wide open. This Lenten season I don’t want to miss looking up and reflecting first on the cross but then the resurrection and what it means to my life.