Grace Notes #41 (with Photos)

Grace Notes #41 (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 taken photographs of some of them with my iPhone, which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • My painting was juried into the IAPS International Pastel World Show, which is the top show in the world for pastel artists. (If you missed it, see my blog post about that here.) Such an honor to be in such elite company!
  • In other art related gratitude, I also have a painting in the Renaissance in Pastel show, which is a juried national show here in Connecticut. In June, I’m grateful to have had a one woman show at the White Silo Winery. Also in June, I loved being with fellow plein air painters for a retreat in Maine. And I’m delighted that I will be returning to Long Lake for an artist-in-residency at the end of August. Meanwhile, I’m also grateful to have sold two paintings. Also, I’m in the process of cleaning up my studio which is a relief.
  • I’m grateful our younger daughter is home for several weeks with me, while my husband has the opportunity to teach what is dear to his heart to people in southern California. I’m glad he’ll get to see our older daughter on the way home from there, and that she’ll visit both of us here in August before I head again to Maine.
  • I’m grateful we’ll be setting up our new garage pottery studio this month while our daughter is home. (In the photo with our homegrown raspberries below, you can see a former plate I made and carved).
  • I’m grateful for the farmer’s market and all the lovely food we are eating from there, which I ‘ll blog about soon. The abundance of raspberries in our yard is wonderful, as were the sugar snap peas which are now done (both shown in photos below.)
  • I’m grateful to be hiking each morning early at Huntington State Park. It is so lovely to be on such familiar terms with this beautiful place, and for a few weeks for our daughter to come along the moment we get out of bed. (Thankfully, she’s an early riser too.)
  • I’m grateful both of my sisters are coming together for a visit this summer. The last time we’ve been together was Thanksgiving 2019, and the last time they’ve both been here together was 2009.
  • I’m grateful for our quarry swimming hole where our youngest and I have spent time lately floating in deep water (see photo above) and for the amazing Notre Dame sandcastle there (see photo below) that lasted a whole week.
  • I’m grateful for meals made by others. Since I’m usually the cook, this is a special treat. You can see my meals out recently in the photos below. This is something that didn’t happen often during the pandemic, so I’m not going to take it for granted. I’m grateful to be surrounded by quality deliciousness. Also, while our daughter is here, she’s cooking some (and doing all the dishes, even the ones I make) and the garlic scape and salmon quiche shown below she made.
  • I’m grateful for my huge new pastel “pebbles” which I learned existed on social media from those fortunate enough to be in the vendor hall at IAPS. You can see in the photo below the ones I purchased online (you can buy the forest green one here, or the spring green one here, or the Prussian blue one here), and note in the photo their size compared with a regular pastel (the reddish purple one). There are other colors but these are what I started with.
  • I’m grateful to be trying out new ways of making collage papers, and am excited by the possibilities. You can see step two of five– drying on the grass in the photo below. I’m grateful for the proliferation of information that brought some of these obscure techniques to light.
  • I’m grateful for our church, and the amazing new little free library we have. I’m grateful for people who apply their myriad abilities to bless other people.
  • I’m grateful to have been at Annual Meeting again in person this year in Boston, and for the dear friends I saw there.
  • I’m grateful for two gobsmacking healings of others recently in my spiritual healing practice. One turn-around was astonishingly fast from a horrible medical prognosis to a clean, medically confirmed bill of health. Another longstanding strife has at last come to a satisfactory conclusion, which is such a relief. I’m grateful that helping people though their bumps and desperate calamities in this way is effective, which keeps me happy and committed in the doing of it.
  • I’m so grateful I never run out of ideas, whether it is cooking, painting, poetic metaphor, or new ways to explain spiritual concepts. The Source of good ideas is an alter I admit to worshipping at, and am so grateful that God is infinite, knowable, and ever-provisional.
  • I’m grateful to have donated 13 boxes of books and six feet worth of vinyl records recently. I’ve also moved my paintings into our son’s former bedroom, so that my office/studio is becoming more livable. The newly organized archives made choosing paintings for my recent show a breeze.
  • I’m grateful my husband’s podcast (The Bible Speaks to You) continues to do well, reaching now 144 countries. It causes him to thrive, and his listeners to further their own engagement with the content; both are fabulous outcomes.
  • I’m also grateful for hiking boots, for dried juniper berries, for strength, for energy, for crunchy peanut butter, for pine cones, rounded river rocks, gas (even if expensive it is appreciated), clean drinking water, cameras, paint, computers, brooms, mops, towels, air-conditioners, books, zoom, Instagram, vacuums, snapdragons, that incredible orchid that is in its eighth month blooming in our bedroom, refrigerators, new books, shorts in the next size down, shade, low light for shadow play with my husband and I (in a new sundress purchased in Maine) walking back to the car with our small cooler from a riverside picnic (also showed in a different photo below), for antique cars spotted in Portland, for fiddlehead ferns, for the healthy food I buy at Costco (see the photo of my fish, veggies, and fruit on the cashier’s belt there), for old trees, for stone walls, for ramps on sourdough focaccia made by a book group friend, or in hummus out for dinner out with a friend I haven’t seen since the pandemic, for playing cribbage almost daily either with my husband our our daughter, for lobster rolls (wonderful and appreciated but as expensive as gas), for strawberry rhubarb Danish from our daughter’s farmer’s market, for inner tubes, my new blueberry placemats, spinach pizza, watermelon, being at home, for my husband’s remarkable flowers growing around our front door… for love.
  • I’m also very grateful for each one of you blog readers, for your receptivity to good, for your patience with me, for your interest and curiosity, for your flexible open-mindedness, for your partaking of this content, for engaging with it, sharing it with others, and supporting it financially. You are the best, and I’m so grateful you make this little corner of the internet not only possible, but sunny, and fulled with hope.

Please share some of your own grace notes in the comments below!
































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. Dilys 2 years ago

    Dear Polly, I am so grateful for you and your generous sharing of ideas across so many different fields! Your colourful art, your beautiful photography, your tasty looking and well presented dishes, your uplifting ideas, your insightful book reviews and your wonderful healing work! you truly are a polymath!! I so look forward to your daily offerings and rejoice in them all. Bless you and James. xxxx

    • Author
      Polly Castor 2 years ago

      I always look forward to hearing from you too!

  2. Brian G 1 year ago

    Just wow! I went nuts when I saw the vinyl, the pizza, and all the other goodies…

    I tried to recreate it by going to the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert featuring Yusef/Cat Stevens online, and cooking a frozen pizza. Use real speakers, or good headphones please!

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