Hope

“Hope is (for me) not usually the religious-looking fingers of light slanting through the clouds, or the lurid sunrise. It’s more a sturdy garment, like an old chamois shirt: a reminder that I’ve been here before, in circumstances just as frightening, and I came through, and will again. All I have to do is stay grounded in the truth.”     Anne Lamott

I found this quote yesterday on Facebook. It was part of a longer piece written by Anne Lamott for National Geographic in 2018. I like it. To me, it says hope, as well as its cousins, love and faith, are more than holy talismans that stand apart from our ordinary, everyday life. Hope, for me, is something that is as natural as breathing. It sustains me.

In Louisiana, today we enter Phase One of the return to normalcy. Restaurants will open with limited seating. Retail shops are open. Barber shops and beauty salons open with limited capacity. I was able to score a coveted spot with my hair stylist next Monday.

I hope the curve continues downward in Louisiana. For a time, we were one of the nation’s hot spots for Covid-19. Fortunately, the New Orleans area, which was one of the nation’s leader in per capita cases, is now subsiding in new cases. There’s hope for the city and the state.

If you prefer sunrises and slanting light in clouds (in this case a sunset) I have one of those, too. After all, nature too can bring about a sense of hope. I think I’ve had this one on the blog before but I like it. It’s a sunset over Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana.

lake sunset

Consider the Lilies

Fire daylily1jpgThere is something magical, God-breathed inspiring, about day lilies. For just one day, a bloom is magnificent and break-taking, then each lily shrinks and shrivels into nothing but a memory as a fallen bloom.

Yet, each day, when I wake up, I can’t wait to see which lilies will grace my yard with their glory. They require very little upkeep, and they propagate without my help. All I offer is a bit of weeding and fertilizing, and nature supplies the sun and soil weaving a tapestry of beauty. I don’t have a special macro lens for my camera so this is the best I can do as far as photography will allow me to capture the day’s offering.

perfectly pink

mild yellow daylillies

pale orange2

 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:28-

Rest

The year of the plague is upon us, but I need a rest. Rest from newscasts, cooking, cleaning, eating, binge-watching Netflix, Zoom calls, and everything else that I use to try to cope with my thoughts that sometimes won’t quit. These activities are helpful, but they can be just another way of blocking out being in the present moment. 

I snapped the shot below last week while walking with my foster dog in Fontainebleau Park in nearby Mandeville, Louisiana. The dog is gone. I regret to say I am a foster failure. She really was not all that much trouble, but I was concerned about the accidents, daily, in the house. Since the bedrooms are carpeted, I closed those rooms to her. But, I was careless with closing doors, so she left stains. She went back to the humane society for an appointment with prospective owners who wanted a forever dog. 

I hoped it worked out for the dog and the prospective clients because I didn’t take her back home with me. I might try another foster dog, but I have to better prepare myself and the house for a nervous, confused animal to be with me, being a somewhat nervous, confused human in these times At least, though, not yet anyway, I am not yet staining the carpets. 

IMG_0250

When I look at the photograph above, it reminds me of words from Eugene Peterson’s Bible translation, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace,” from Matthew 11:29-30. I need to establish a rhythm of grace: doing things, yes, but sometimes, just being present in the moment.

 

Ramblings

The state of Louisiana is under a stay at home order. In our state, we are permitted to get food, medicine, etc, as well as exercise outside as long as appropriate social distancing is observed. On Sunday afternoon, I  chose places within walking distance in Abita Springs, where I live. If I had to choose a place to be, I could do worse. There were only a few folks out, mostly using the bike trail that runs throughout the parish.

I dusted off my Canon camera, and I set off for a photo walk around town. These are special times we are living in, so my phone camera just wouldn’t do. No, I needed the Canon 35mm, which I haven’t used in over a year.

I didn’t have a predetermined course. I just rambled a bit downtown.  Some places were closed. I didn’t bother with pictures of the two town museums or the brewery since they weren’t open to the public. The churches are closed, too, so I skipped pictures of St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Nice buildings though.

I focused my camera’s lens on pretty houses and a few businesses that have remained open. I thought a few houses were places I would prefer to be sheltering in rather than my house. There’s nothing wrong with my house, but a grander home would please me more.

 

hotel-3The Abita Springs Hotel would be a grand place to be sequestered. Maid service, fresh linens, and maybe a nice meal or two provided with the stay. I could get used to that sort of quarantine. The hotel is open during the stay at home mandate but it looked empty. Want to stay here? Maybe when this virus scare has passed? Here’s the link to our local hotel – Abita Springs Hotel. 

blue-houseI also liked the house next door to the hotel. It’s a private residence but surely the owners would be glad to exchange houses for a few weeks for a change of scenery.  It’s inviting, isn’t it?

womens-center I wouldn’t mind taking up residence in the Women’s Center. The sign says its a place for healing and transformation. That sounds like a fine place to stay for a quarantine.

abita-brew-pubThe Abita Brew Pub is not open for seating inside, but the pub is taking orders for take-out. They have great burgers, and of course, a large selection of Abita beer. In Louisiana, the law is allowing customers to order alcohol to go from restaurants. I was tempted to stop and get a burger, but I had leftover pizza and Abita beer in the fridge at home.

abita-farmers-marketLater this week, I plan on stopping by the Abita Farmer’s Market. I don’t need a regular grocery store stop this week since my pantry is well-stocked. I have already eaten all the good stuff though, like chips and ice cream. Maybe now is the time to add fresh fruit and vegetables to my diet.

backroads-mercantile

Afterwards I got in my Mazda and took a drive out of town towards the town of Waldheim, driving east towards Mississippi. I stopped at this store, but it was closed. I need to stop when it’s open. Looks interesting, doesn’t it?

I’m glad I found my Canon camera and rambled around town and a bit farther on Sunday afternoon. I might be limited to where I can go during this statewide shelter in place order, but I can still find interesting places to view.

 

2017 Favorites

 

I put together just a few of my favorite photographs from 2017. Some are places I visited this year. I have a few from Nicaragua, Honduras, Florida and Mississippi.  Some are from ’round here in Louisiana.

In the spirit of Advent, i.e. waiting for good things to come, I will share good stuff happening here and far.

  1. The political crisis in Honduras is not over, but by and large the country is relatively calm. Protests are centered in the big cities.  A consensus in forming in the national and international arena to hold a new election. A new election without the usual corruption and ballot stuffing would be welcomed by the Hondura people. I applaud them, not for violent demonstrations, but for the will to see a change in the status quo of corrupt elections.
  2. In January I visited Honduras, the first time I went back there since I moved to the US over 3 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing old friends. My humble little project is prospering and increasing in it scope and effectiveness in helping children in poverty. Soon, they will move into a large new building.
  3. I moved into a smaller and cuter house than I had before. You can view it in the pictures below. I love my little cottage. I have good neighbors, mostly squirrels, rabbits and birds, although my human neighbors are nice, too.
  4. I enjoyed my trip to Nicaragua last month. As we wait during the advent season in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, I am encouraged by the people I met in Nicaragua who are working for a better society there. They are waiting, too, but actively waiting, for good things to come.
  5. My mother finally gave up driving. She’s mostly blind, but she was stubbornly hanging on to the car keys. After an accident (no one hurt thank God!) she was dropped from her insurance company. She conceded. We all are grateful.

What’s happening in your life that’s good? Share if you like.