Celebrating

Good morning, everyone,

Yesterday, I thought we might escape the rain but it didn’t happen, a light rain along with swirling winds hung around for most of the day easing off some in the late afternoon, allowing me to haul home in my trusty Ranger pick-up the cantilevered 11 ft umbrella stand for the back deck and rug for what we call the Exercise Room which Kornelia and I had purchased earlier at Loew’s Home Improvement Center. It was satisfying to get the rug laid out in what was otherwise a bare and unused space. Now we’ve got the Pilates Aero work-out machine out of the garage and ready to set-up.  I have yet to review the Pilates videos to recall how it all fits together. I like the concept and am prepared to think it will be a good exercise program for me now that I’ve dropped Zumba and any regular Yoga class. Kornelia keeps reminding me, for which I’m grudgingly thankful, to stand up straight! I find myself bowing to gravity these days, hunching forward like any old man so that actually standing upright seems awkward and strained which is not a good sign, something I want to correct and am obviously having trouble with, in spite of all my exercising to date.

The day had begun like it does every other Sunday morning, baking muffins. Since I’ve wanted to produce the healthiest muffin I can, I’ve dropped the use of grain flours, regular sugar, orange juice and vegetable oil and replaced them with nut flours ( almond flour and coconut flour), xylitol sweetener, almond or coconut milk and avocado oil. I also use stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and organic blueberries, the latter, of course, anything but sugar-free. The church members for whom I prepare the Sunday muffins seem not have noticed the switch and continue to compliment me. One member, yesterday, offered the comment that she particularly liked that I was not stingy with the blueberries. And that’s true. If anything, I probably overdo it.

The Sunday worship service at the small Methodist church I attend was something to remark about for several reasons, the first being that the pastor, Marcella, was well enough to return to conduct the service and preach after an absence of two weeks. She had me read the opening words and sit next to her in case her voice failed and she couldn’t continue in which case I would carry on, reading her sermon, if necessary. As it turned out, she did well, her voice firm and strong until the last when she had to reach for her inhaler. At that point, I took over, announcing the closing hymn and reading the benediction. Another remarkable feature of this Sunday’s worship was the notably low attendance. Last Sunday, Easter, the place was filled (someone had counted 110 attendees). Today there were maybe 30 present. The ministers have come up with a name for the Sunday after Easter. They call it “Cannon” Sunday because, they say, you could shoot a cannon ball right through the middle of the sanctuary and not hit anyone! They also refer to the Sunday after Easter as “Hilarity” Sunday which I’d never heard of. In keeping with the notion of humor, Marcella had red and white balloons tethered to the end of every pew, floating there above our heads. at one point she had us take the balloon we’d each gotten in our worship bulletin, inflate it and let it go on the count of three as a way to illustrate how the holy spirit might work. I was not able to exhale hard enough to inflate my balloon but ignored the implication of that. Despite the humorous theme, Marcella’s sermon was powerful. Without her voice faltering even once, she spoke eloquently of Jesus’ nonviolent stand throughout his ministry right up to the end.

That afternoon, I attended with many others from the church, a memorial service for Lila Long, a most revered woman of 92 years, whose long, rich life was characterized by her love of it. She was a gifted painter with a deep sense of humor who made it a point to meet and engage everyone she met with kindness and joy. I remember her well myself as I encountered her at the Senior Center from time to time. A petite Chinese woman with warm, lively eyes that were always seeing life’s ironies, she invariably brought a smile to my face. Let me end my journal this morning with a quote from the poem – she could have written it – which appeared in Lila’s memorial card:”…if my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy, a friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss…I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow…” (From the poem “I Am Free”).

In the same spirit, do I wish you sunshine. May it fill your day.  Love always,   Bob.

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