Earth Elements – Terri Webster Schrandt’s Photo Challenge – Sunday Stills – Jan. 30th

This is my first time posting for Terri’s photo challenge and I thought it might be fun to try. The Sunday Stills topic for this week is Elements – water, fire, earth, and air/wind.

My first set of photos is water. One of the photos was taken at a lovely golf community we love to visit about an hour north of us. The other photo is one of our grandsons sitting along the shoreline of Calibogue Sound in Sea Pines at Hilton Head, SC. I wonder what he is thinking?

The next set of photos is fire. The first photo is our fire pit in the backyard. We have so much fun gathering around it while roasting marshmallows, sipping a hot drink or an adult beverage while we enjoy lively conversation or stare quietly at the flames. The other photo is an advent wreath that we like to light during the Christmas season. We did not continue this tradition this past year and we really missed it. I am on the search for a new wreath for next year.

The next set is Earth. Both photos were taken in my backyard. I just loved how the rays of sun were shining through the trees during the late summer afternoon. The other shows the clouds at sunset on a cold winter twilight.

The last set of photos is wind. This was a little more challenging to find this element. The first photo is the flag on a sunset cruise. The other is a sailboat we spotted in Calibogue Sound. We took both of these photos while staying in Sea Pines in Hilton Head, SC.

Home Alone

Since retiring, my husband and I have spent a lot of time together which means not much “alone” time. We pretty much do everything together from grocery shopping to Costco runs, to Silver Sneakers exercise classes. We’ve decided not to move so we have been busy updating some areas of our home which has required us to spend a lot of time discussing options and a lot of footwork as we make final decisions which equals a lot of time together.

My social life is busier than M’s so we do get “some” time apart, but the thing is – I am seldom ALONE. I mean truly alone – no one in another room in the house, no one sitting next to me in the car or no one wanting my attention as we shop or dine. 

I am not complaining as I enjoy every single minute with my wonderful husband and friends, but I fantasize about having some quiet time alone in my own home. Wrapping myself in a warm blanket on the sofa as I relax in absolute silence to read a book or magazine, or quietly think about life in general, or mindlessly watch TV. I long to open the refrigerator and just pick around until I find something to eat. Just me, myself and I time.

The opportunity finally arrived last night when my husband was invited out for pizza with three of his friends!! 

After lounging in a long, hot bath I put on some snuggly pajamas and made my way to the kitchen. After routing through the fridge, I was able to put together a dinner that made me smile and enjoyed watching a Hallmark Christmas movie while I dined on chicken salad, grapes and water in my favorite holiday wine glass.  A little while later my sweet tooth began to ache, so I enjoyed a little piece of leftover cake with some coffee in one of my favorite cups. 

Later on I went all out and treated myself to a little liquid chocolate. I wound up having three and half hours of ALONE time (if you don’t count my dog – who did not have to go out not even once to potty, and basically laid in this position the entire evening) until my husband returned home.  I felt refreshed and relaxed and so enjoyed listening to M’s stories about his evening with old friends. I think everyone deserves a little “home alone” time.

Savoring the Beginning of Retirement

Our life is about to change in many ways and I have to admit it is off to a good start! My husband is now six-weeks into his retirement! After working for 44 years in the same field and at least seven more during and right after college – he deserves to slow down and relax. The opportunity to plan a Fall excursion to Hilton Head and impromptu activities such as roasting marshmallows while enjoying a cool evening in front of the fire-pit on a “Tuesday night” has been so much fun!

Cooking together and trying new recipes (canning some fresh picked apples), visiting Gibbs Gardens on a week day when the crowds are smaller and then driving over to a nearby small town to eat a delicious lunch at one of several locally owned restaurants makes it easy for us to feel spoiled. Running errands and taking early morning walks as we watch the sunrise together are some of our favorite things.

One of the best things so far has been the realization that we don’t have to rush to get things done anymore. We can do what we want to do whenever we want to do it. Our neighbor calls it “living on retired time.” I think I am going to like it!

Words from 1948…

In 1948 C.S.Lewis wrote an essay “On Living in an Atomic Age”. Bombs had been dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki so fear about atomic technology was on everyone’s mind. His words in those perilous times, are just as relevant in the uncertain times we are living today. I borrowed this from a blog I follow (erinapier – Hometown).

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

“What the atomic bomb has really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and which, during the prosperous period before, we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, as far as it goes, a good thing.”

“Let the bomb find you living well.” – C. S. Lewis

Disclaimer – I am not discouraging nor opposing the vaccine. I am not downplaying the seriousness of COVID. I have had COVID. I have had family get very sick with COVID. I have known two people who have died from COVID. I am hurting too and I am tired of being afraid. This essay just helped me put things in perspective and I hope it helps you too.

I Want to Believe…

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…and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

Discussing religion and politics with anyone other than my family is taboo for me.  It is not worth the backlash and hateful comments from those with opposing views that are shared so easily and freely on social media. It (sadly) amazes me how hateful and rude people can be as they hide behind the keyboard typing things that they most likely would not say if they were actually talking face to face to someone. 

I am stepping out of my comfort zone with this post. It doesn’t really matter if I am supporting President Donald Trump or if I am supporting former Vice President Joe Biden but, I have never felt so anxious about an election as I do today.  

On this Election Day morning, I spent some quiet time praying for our politically and racially divided nation, for our presidential candidates, for the innocent lives that could be destroyed no matter who is declared the winner.  I prayed that we could begin to pull together as a nation in spite of political differences.  

I read where many businesses are boarding up their windows in anticipation of the losing side who may be tempted to act out their rage and despair through riots and destruction of property.  Innocent, hard working people could lose their livelihood as a result of this outrage. The winning side will feel tempted to act triumphantly toward the losers resulting in a potentially deadly combination. 

America faces problems that require we work together. I want to believe most Americans are reasonable and truly desire what is best for the country. I want to believe that Americans are capable of interacting with respectful dialogue as they listen to and try to understand the differing points of view instead of jumping right away into contradictions. I also want believe we might find we are more alike than we might imagine as we work through our differences. 

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”