Grace Notes #20 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #20 (with Photos)

grace note #20 by Polly Castor

This is a periodic blog feature I call “grace notes.” It occasionally captures my jottings of incidental gratitude. My hope is that this practice will make me (and you?) more aware of the constant flow of amazing good we are perpetually steeped in, which we are surrounded by all the time. It is here only asking to be noticed and amplified.

So now I am furthering my ongoing goal of appreciating such a continuous, overflowing abundance of random good. I’ve even taken photographs of some of them –mostly with my iPhone– which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • Yellow magnolias. Have you ever seen one? This is my first (above) and I loved it.
  • We are loving the book group we started in January. It is wonderful that my local independent bookstore has a special, labeled shelf for our group, and that we together got to go hear Gregory Doyle speak only a couple days after our book discussion on his book. The serendipity of the timing of reading this book right when we didn’t know he was coming felt amazing. We also read Brene Brown right before her terrific Netflix special came out. This unwitting choreography makes me feel tuned in.
  • I love spotting abstract compositions everywhere on my walks, whether in peeling paint on cinderblocks, or a heap of road construction signs by the side of the road.
  • The tenacity of the fresh, green daffodil leaves pushing their way up through last fall’s oak leaf litter, raising it off the ground with it as it grew. What we can learn about persistence from this continued effort that doesn’t let a little seeming obstruction get it down, but rather, by progressing anyway, elevates everything with it. (See photo below.)
  •  Flowers everywhere! Reblooming orchids gracing our home, the procession of blooms outside this spring, from meek little trillium hiding in the woods, azaleas splashing bright orange in the green landscape, to the heady fragrance of lilacs, to two foot tall tulips on our breakfast table, to Mother’s Day flowers sold in mass quantity, to weeping cherry petals ornamenting our home or carpeting our paths underfoot, and even a band of sprightly tulips promenading at the library. My God created flowers, and to my mind loving each and every one is a great way to worship such a beautiful Creator.
  • Friends that cook. Especially homemade fish tacos.
  • A nice impromptu visit here with my husband’s sister and her husband.
  • Yay for Ferris Acres ice cream, and poached eggs on avocado toast!
  • For interesting light out the window.
  • For spring rain.
  • For our daughter’s recent graduation, her museum show, her college church, and that our older daughter could fly in for the occasion. For getting to spend a lot of time with our graduate this summer. For obtaining an apartment for her to move into in August for her PhD program, without the problems I imagined. I’m so glad I prayed about it! (I was concerned everything would be gone before we could go looking after graduation, but calmed myself by reasoning that this step seemed so right and that as an idea it was complete, including housing. God doesn’t take us only part of the way.) Well, what happened is that as she looked at places online all spring, and watched them get snapped up one after another, one of her favorites remained listed. She figured they forgot to take it down. Fortunately, the day after she got home from graduation, she called them anyway, to ask to see it. We made an appointment and drove down there the next day– three hours down and back to see just one place. The apartment was nice, very large for the money, even has a balcony, and is four blocks from school. The landlord (a person instead of a company) had hundreds of inquiries via email about the apartment in the last two months, but our daughter was the first one to call on the phone. He’d been meaning to get to the emails, and he knew he could rent it out for the fall as soon as he did, but our daughter’s phone call is what did it. By some divine intervention, she was the first to see it. She signed the lease and gave the deposit. I’ve never seen an easier working out. I’m very grateful to have that sorted out as we slide into summer.
  • I’m glad to be heading to the International Pastel Convention (IAPS) in Albuquerque next Monday for a week. This is a very exciting treat for me that I’ve been looking forward to since I signed up last October!
  • I’m grateful to have two huge paintings of mine accepted into a national women artist’s show in a Connecticut museum this summer and I’m grateful to have a friend willing to deliver them for me while I’m gone. I’m also looking forward to my work opening in New Pond Farm’s show this Friday, and for my student’s show next Saturday night.
  • I’m grateful for booking a Part II Adventures in Abstraction workshop in November after my April workshop was such a success. I’m also glad to have a new workshop menu tab added to this blog.
  • I’m grateful for each person that keeps our branch church ticking along.
  • I’m grateful for my husband who is so cute and sweet, and inspired, and works hard too. He is very generous with his time and helps me in so very many ways. I live with a paradise for a yard, as well as have clean clothes and dishes because of him. He’s even sewing me a case for my travel easel, and helping me set up a new gallery on the website to sell my originals (coming soon!). He’s a joy to be around, even though he is currently having a winning streak in our ongoing cribbage tournament. That’s what I get for marrying a winner, I guess.
  • I continue to be so very thankful for you–yes YOU– my blog readers. It is you that make this space holy for me. I want to honor you here as I attempt to amplify good.
  • And on this Memorial Day, I’m grateful for all those who have defended our freedom. I’m not at all a fan of war, but gosh, I am always grateful for peace, and those that secure it.

What are you grateful for? Add some of your grace notes in the comments!



I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Gillian Smith 5 years ago

    I am grateful for so many many things and have my own list to write BUT must just say thank you for your gracious sharing Polly. Bless you.


  1. […] campus where she starts her PhD program next week. (Getting this place was a bit of a miracle, and I told that story of it in the middle of this Grace Notes post, if you want to read […]

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