Grace Notes #33 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #33 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #33 with Photos

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 with my iPhone, which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • I am so grateful for my work, both spiritual and creative aspects. Recently, I considered taking on a new position as a Creative Arts Camp Director, for a week of adult programming at the end of the season of a church camp. I even did the whole application (thinking it appropriate for me since it was at my sweet spot at the crossroads of spirituality and art), before I realized that I should NOT apply after all. As enticing as it sounded, it was not for me. I’m already working on my highest goals. I realized that as well as I could do that job, and even though it is for only a concentrated spurt each August, doing so would be a distracting decoy for me. Someone else can do it, while what I’m doing only I can do. So deeply authentic is my current work that I answer only to God. Yes, practice clients and art collectors need to be satisfied, but I find being deeply transparent and obedient to my higher Source is sufficient enough for that. I love what I do. I love the balance between helping others and expressing myself. Others are certainly blessed by it, and seeing that directly, is both unusual and rewarding in one’s work. I get to be a part of gobsmacking healing that drastically improves lives, while my art encourages joy both in myself and others. My work in both spirituality and art (in their own ways) helps bring understanding. This is priceless! So why is my work so rarely at the top of these grace notes lists? I don’t take it for granted to be sure, but maybe I’m shy about the amount of freedom I live with, when others are punching clocks and sometimes dealing with drudgery for their paycheck. I didn’t get where I am overnight, and even though the hours of being constantly on call can be incessant and long, I love it. We still have lots of progress to make (especially financially), but working “for oneself” (ie God) is a huge privilege that deserves acknowledgement. I’m growing within what I’m doing and spend my time with others that have a growth mindset. Meanwhile, I’m sending out blessings to whoever takes that job I didn’t apply for. Nothing like looking down a path not taken to appreciate the one you are on. Thank you God for what I do do!
  • I’m grateful spring is here and I’m getting back out walking again. This feels just as great– bursting forth– as the blooming things I see everywhere. I am thrilling to it. It is great to be moving again after a couple sedentary months.
  • I’m grateful our daughters are in touch and doing well. I so honor how “on it” they are in their lives and it inspires me to be seizing each day as well.
  • I’m grateful my husband’s podcast (The Bible Speaks to You) is still fun for him as well as so well received and meaningful to his worldwide listeners.
  • I’m grateful for a couple art classes I’ve taken lately, where I’ve met wonderful people, gotten a bazillion more new ideas, and learned about a score of new materials I want to (and will be!) playing with. Zoom was surprisingly effective for these workshops, and we had people from all over the world, participating from their own studios. One teacher was so cool, she even rented a steamroller to do some printmaking with. I am grateful for creative people everywhere.
  • I’m grateful that our church has just returned to in person Sunday services after 13 months of zoom. Honestly, I thought it was premature, but gosh, I was thrilled to be back, way more than I felt like I would be. I was practically dancing. I’m grateful for the all the dedicated folks there, and for our amazing musicians.
  • I’m grateful to be in my first in-person art show again as well. The Juried Connecticut Women Artist’s show opens on Saturday 1-3 at the Art League of New Britain. I’m grateful things are starting to gradually open up again.
  • I’m grateful to have settled into a balanced food plan that makes sense for both myself, our budget, and the environment. I’m grateful to be incrementally sharing that on Instagram.
  • I’m grateful my husband has gotten our garden started, and it is fun to watch our future food starting to sprout. (In the photo you can see him at our table planning where he was going to sow his seeds.) I’m grateful both daughters are starting their first gardens at their places of residence as well.
  • I’m grateful for a couple meals out. I’m always happy when someone else cooks! Our first/only restaurant meal since October is shown last below, and the lovely Easter dinner we were treated to (with its appetizer, salad, main, and almond kisses respectively) is shown first below. (The photo of us above was taken at that Easter dinner as well.) I’m grateful for warmer weather when we can entertain again at out picnic table, which we’ve done once already so far (see photo). I’m also grateful one of you brought us homegrown eggs at Easter time; they were fabulously delicious!
  • I’m grateful for a procession of beautiful flowers on our table. Two sets of amaryllis (one red, the other white) took their time blooming this year, but were just lovely (see photo). We forced tulip bulbs and some forsythia (in a vase I made especially for it) that were wonderful (see photos of that too). I’m grateful also for the flowers outside. So far we’ve had crocus, scilla, forsythia, daffodils and hyacinth. The tulips, magnolia, peach blossoms, and weeping cherry splendor are soon to come. I adore it all.
  • I’m grateful for our oldest daughter serving as second reader for her church, and for the lovely zoom thank you send off they surprised her with after the last service of her term (see photo).
  • I’m grateful for smoothies with protein powder, both chocolate ones and green ones (see photos).
  • I’m grateful to have gotten a slab of beechwood from that colossal (downed) tree (shown in the photo) for our younger daughter to do something wonderful with.
  • I’m grateful for sunrises and sunsets, for chocolate, and eternal life. I’m grateful for light and laughter, and water and cormorants. I’m grateful for brayers and razor blades, for sanded paper and notans. I’m grateful for hymns and books, and recycling and bicycles. I’m grateful for hiking boots and crab cakes, stimulus checks and cellos, lotion and shoes, showers and compost. I’m grateful for dental floss, for seeing abstract compositions everywhere (see the arrangements of boxes below at Costco), as well as moss, algae, skunk cabbage, and lichen, which are the first to green up our spring. I grateful for trails in my local park, for all of my book groups, for phone apps that improve my daily life so much, for email and texting, which frees up my telephone, for other people’s birthdays, so I can celebrate their presence in my life. I’m grateful for my sisters, for my nieces, nephews (photo of one below), and their kids, for social media, for colleges, for pears, for radishes, for patience, for democracy, for enlightenment, for nightly cribbage games with my sweetheart (see a good hand of mine in the photo), and for a good night’s sleep. I’m grateful for the color orange, for cinnamon, for soft, fuzzy fleece, for branches making shapes against a bright blue sky.  I’m grateful for ad free music on Pandora, for clean kitchen floors, freshly laundered clothes, and for the strength to bound up stairs. I’m grateful to live in a beautiful place (see the Victorian across the street in the photo, not to mention all our woods and open space). I’m grateful my list of gratitude will never end, only slightly pause between breaths.
  • I’m grateful to have sold three paintings so far this calendar year. You can see them in the photos below. I am grateful these creations of mine are in truly wonderful homes.
  • I’m grateful for this blog and for all of you fabulous blog readers who make it worth doing. Thank you for your attention, for reading, commenting on, and sharing this blog, which one of you recently called “the perfect corner of the internet.” Thank you for that endorsement! I’m grateful we can come together in this space; I’m grateful for you all collectively and very specifically and individually as well. (For example, one of you that I have never met, who has been a staunch supporter, is shown below.) Each and every one of you is particularly terrific or you wouldn’t be here in this very self-selecting space. Thank you for hanging in with me all the way through this rambling post. Thank you for amplifying good with me! Thank you for being you!

Add your own 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.

8 Comments

  1. John gregory 6 months ago

    I am humbled by that good picture of me next to Jennifer Rawlings.
    She is as nice as she looks. Thank you.

  2. John gregory 6 months ago

    Just read your blog. Being supportive of your good good stuff is such a privilege, a calling, if you will. Congrats on your direction in life.

  3. Susan Stroud 6 months ago

    I don’t always read everything on your blog. But I do enjoy getting it. It makes me think you are enjoying life and we all need to do that more readily don’t we?

    • Author
      Polly Castor 6 months ago

      Yes!

  4. Susan Krevitt 6 months ago

    Yes, Susan Stroud, John, Polly, all! Our Enjoying Life, in every sweet way it shows up within the…rest of it… proves our superiority to all that would diminish Good–the dominion our Creator freely gives us!
    I SO appreciate every reminder of this, even a…purple radish!
    (who needs to color Eggs?!)

    Love to you all,

    Sue

  5. LOREE A. OGAN 6 months ago

    I’m grateful to have such a talented friend- Your artwork is so happy in its new home!

  6. Meg Hanson 6 months ago

    So many things to be grateful for! I also have been trying hard to be very intentional about how I use my time and what I commit to. Most of my adult life was sooo busy with every minute occupied with necessary things like employment, household duties, parenting tasks, church committees that I felt obligated to do but did not love, etc I was always overwhelmed.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 6 months ago

      Glad you are at a place of making intentional choices!

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