It was a tragic weekend.

By all reports it should have been wonderful. The weatherman had predicted perfect summer weather, just right for a picnic in the park or kayak excursion on the lake. I had invited friends for dinner: the house was ready, shopping was complete except for garden veggies from the local farmer, and freshly baked oatmeal-nut bread was cooling on a rack.

The table was set with antique blue willow china, a gift from my mother, and I had even dusted and reorganized the shelves of the old corner cupboard. It has a beauty of its own and stores impractical but beloved items such as a large crystal bowl given by a friend, a pair of tiny Blumenkinder figures purchased in Germany, and white china dessert plates edged in platinum. During the dusting process two of the delicate plates slipped from my hands and shattered on the floor. No worries…”I’ll just clean up the pieces. There are still four plates left and more than enough stacked in another cubby in the kitchen.” A premonition of things to come perhaps?

Then breaking news appeared on my phone. Another gun event, known as a m… s…, as if it should have a common name. How many times does it take? Proposed legislation that would help deter such violence gathers dust on desks in fancy offices while our elected leaders enjoy their summer leave. Shock and collective sadness, prayers, and conversation occur after each event, and yet nothing changes. Shortly after the first reported shooting, another occurred in a different city. Unbelievable!

How will history books record these times? I shudder to think of possible chapter headlines.

Mass shootings became commonplace, Americans killing Americans
Gun industry stocks rose at the expense of human life
Politicians were unable to act for the common good due to powerful special interest groups
USA became a dangerous place: freedom without responsibility

The possibilities go on, including Mental health crisis led to frequent mass killings or Violence in the media desensitized citizens.

My little dinner party took place as planned. Guests were jovial, telling stories of good old days and discussing the future. No mention was made of the tragedies that had occurred only hours before. Out of courtesy I let the conversation take its own path during the evening and we enjoyed our friendship! But underneath it all, we knew there were shattered families in sudden grief over lost loved ones, countless individuals suffering physical injuries and uncertain about the days ahead, communities torn apart, and an overwhelming sadness that this is where we are—here in the nation we call home.

I welcome your comments.

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Pickles and Life

Have you canned pickles lately? My instructions call for packing thin slices of garden cucumbers into jars, followed by a savory sweet/sour brine to be poured over it all. This image describes my life of the past few weeks. It has been packed full of fresh healthy events with plenty of sweet and spicy flavor as well as the prickly stuff of life. One high point was the annual Global Leadership Summit broadcast via satellite from Willowcreek Community Church. This event inspired leaders of all ages and professions with engaging presentations by an amazing faculty including Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willowcreek; Jim Collins, well-known business thinker and author; and Sally Krawcheck, veteran wall street analyst and advocate for empowering women in the business world. I highly recommend the next summit to you, August 11-12, 2016. You can find info at willowcreek.com/summit. In the interim I hope you fill your pickle jars with good savory stuff. Feel free to share it on my blog.

Blogging Blunders

The experiment moves on. My blog may be hard to find since its name resembles an email address (How did that happen?) I also see that several posts are identical. But I am not giving up! In fact, soon you can expect some color and maybe even humor. In the meantime, thanks if you are still with me. This blog began with the idea of risk-taking. I’d like to add that the intent is to share stories, not about jumping from skyscrapers or riding in a hot air balloon during a thunder storm, but rather about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on a totally new challenge. Please do respond if you have an example. You get extra credit if you are a boomer!

Launch to the Second Act

One of the major risks I’ve taken was the decision to retire. I loved my work as a high school language teacher and my career had become my main identity. It was difficult to leave this behind, but I wanted to be available to my elderly parents. As well, I believed that a loving God would open doors and lead me to the stage of my second act. It was at this intersection of family and faith that I took the leap. A little card on my desk kept me on track with the words, “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6) The result has been an amazing new life of healthy risks and wonderful freedom. Have you ever stepped away from your comfort zone trusting in God? Did your leap of faith bring you joy? Feel free to share your story on my blog. This is just the beginning!

Launch to Second Act

One of the riskiest decisions I’ve made was the decision to retire from a wonderful career as a high school language teacher. This was tough, but the tipping point was my aging parents and the desire to be more available to them. I had a strong belief that there would be an interesting second act and that God would open doors for my entrance to the stage at the right time.  At this intersection of family and trust in God my new life of freedom and amazing adventures began. The following was/is my mantra: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)  Have you stepped out of your comfort zone in a big way? Was it a leap of faith? I welcome you to follow the stories of meaningful risk-taking and trust in my blog and encourage you to add your own.