213. Credit Cards Paid Off!

February 3rd, 2018

Yesterday, I paid off all my credit cards.

This feels miraculous. For years, I’d prayed daily that it would happen, but I thought I was praying for something in the far distant future.

But I checked out a home equity loan recently – and qualified for just enough to pay off all those cards and end up in a better budget. Yes, I still have debt, but now it’s all secured debt.

And that feels so good!

212. Wonderful Books

February 2nd, 2018

I finished a very good book last night at Silent Book Club, and then I started a new one when I got home. And I was several chapters in, when I realized that I LOVE this book and I LOVE the main character.

Now, it’s true that by the time I finish I may not love it as much. (The author could still blow it.)
And I may read many more books this year that I love this much. (Wouldn’t that be great!)
And it’s possible that the others on the committee won’t love this particular book as much as I do.

But I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to get to help give an award and honors and huge recognition to some books I LOVE this year.

Last night I had this moment of thinking I wished I could tell the whole world about this wonderful book and this amazing and wonderful character.

And then I realized: I GET TO DO THAT!!! I REALLY DO!!!

211. Talking about the Newbery in Classrooms

January 30th, 2018

I’ve recently contacted some elementary school librarians – and I’m getting to go into the schools and talk with kids about the Newbery process and how the Medal winner is chosen and all the reading I have to do this year.

It’s so much fun!

Talking about the award in the community is part of my charge as a member of the Newbery committee – I hadn’t realized just how much fun it is to do!

210. A New Car!

January 7th, 2018

I think I jinxed myself. Last year, when I paid $2700 to fix my old 2002 Prius, I kept saying that I hoped it would last until I paid off my student loans. Well, last month I paid off my library school student loans – and on December 28, when the weather had turned bitter cold, my check engine warning light went off. It still was running, but I took it in that night.

The next day they told me the hybrid motor was malfunctioning and the engine was misfiring. It would cost me $5000 to fix it. The car had 227,000 miles on it, 101,000 more than when I bought it ten years ago.

It was time to buy a new car!

So on December 29, I bought a brand-new Prius C (C for Compact). I knew I wanted another Prius, and was happy that now they have a smaller, cheaper version. I found what I wanted on the website and test drove it – and love it!

209. Candlelight Service in Our New Building

December 24th, 2017

I’ve always loved the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at Gateway Community Church. We sing “Shine, Jesus, Shine” after letting the candlelight spread through the auditorium. And we hold our candles high. I didn’t use to think of that as a Christmas song!

And this was our first year in our new building, so there were lots more people, and it was all the more beautiful.

This year, we’re having an 11 pm service to prepare our hearts for Christmas, as well. It makes for a memorable Christmas Eve.

208. New Books and Time to Read Them

December 21st, 2017

I’ve got four days off for Christmas. They’ll be sort of busy, but there should be plenty of time to read in there.

And – today our Youth Materials Selector sent me another box of 2018 children’s book ARCs – to get a headstart on my reading for the Newbery. Yay! I had almost read all the middle-grade ones she’d sent before, so I was ready for a new batch.

It’s going to be a lovely Christmas!

207. Christmas Tree Lighting

December 3rd, 2017

My church had a Christmas Tree Lighting. And what’s special about that is that for years we were meeting in a middle school, but now we have our own building! So this was the first annual Christmas Tree Lighting!

And I realized that usually I go to church with a goal – at the very least to learn something. But this was a goal-less trip. To celebrate, see people I care about, meet some new people, and do a little worshipping as well. It was lovely.

206. My Dad’s Care of my Mom

November 26th, 2017

Today in my small group we were talking about a mother with dementia and how hard it is for the father who can’t take care of his wife, because of his own health issues. One of the other group members had the same thing happen before his mother died – it was so hard on his father.

So even though it is awful that my mom is in late-stage Alzheimer’s at a relatively young age – I’m so thankful that my Dad is still healthy enough to care for her at home.

I know it’s awful for him, and he is truly amazing and so loving and kind.

I’m thankful that he’s able to do it and thankful that he does it.

205. Seven Years of Singleness

November 25th, 2017

Seven years ago today, my divorce was finalized.

At the time, I was scared. I got married right after finishing grad school. So I hadn’t lived as a single adult on my own, out in the world. I felt unprotected and alone.

But – being single turned out to be lovely! I am working as a librarian, making my own friends, active in church, choosing activities that I like to do.

I have even managed to buy a car and keep it maintained! (That was one of the most daunting things. Done.) Why, I even chose and bought my own home (with a down payment from my dad, okay) – something we never managed to do as a couple.

Yes, there have been lonely times. Yes, I hope to marry again some day. But life is very good even if that doesn’t happen.

And this year I’m even on the Newbery committee!

Earlier this month, a family crisis got me feeling vulnerable and alone again. But now things are better, and I just keep on seeing herons, as I mentioned a couple days ago.

Herons represent self-reliance and remind me that, yes, I am just plain thankful for the last seven years.

I am not only living my single life with grace; I am soaring.

205. Friends

November 23rd, 2017

Raise your hand if you’re having someone over who doesn’t have family nearby. My dear friend Darlene is doing that for me today – and I’m so thankful! I’ve known Darlene since we were in 3rd grade, so she feels like family. Thanksgiving is a good day to remember that I’m surrounded by people who love me, even when my family is far away.