I was watching a movie early this morning, still trying to recover from my last semester of doctoral studies, and there was a scene that got me thinking. The movie was about World War II, and the actors were sitting at a table drinking freshly brewed coffee. Someone asked, “what was the best cup of coffee you ever had?” Listening to the response got me thinking about my own “best” cup of coffee.
Sorry for the pause in my posts. This has been a tough semester, my final one, thank God, and I’m just finishing up on my last paper. I had the chance to get out to California for a little vacation recently, and I got to experience both the mountains and the sea, all in one quick week. Vacations always go by too fast, don’t they?
I was in the public library the other day, and as I walked past a display of fall cookbooks, one caught my eye.
Entitled An Everlasting Meal, it was the subtitle which led me to pick it up: Cooking with Economy and Grace. Wow, if I could just master that. 🙂
Way back in March, I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about retreats. The focus was on helping people find retreat experiences where they could get away from everything, have some quiet time, and get recharged.
What surprised and saddened me was the fact that there wasn’t a single reference to Christianity or Christian retreat centers.
Of course, I’m biased in this direction, and I also know that for over 2,000 years, Christians have made their way to the desert, the mountains, beaches, and quiet urban places to encounter God. For centuries, Christians have practiced meditation, mindfulness, and silence.
I’ve been lucky to have travelled a bit this summer, more than usual.
I had the chance to make it out to my home state twice, and both times I visited some new places, including Old Mission Santa Barbara, founded on December 4, 1786 and the tenth of twenty-one missions founded throughout California by the Franciscans.
Years before 9/11, I had the chance to visit the Statue of Liberty, climbing all the way to the top and taking in the view from the windows of her crown. It was amazing, and I’m grateful to have had that opportunity, since, due to fears of terrorism, such climbs are no longer allowed. Today, the Statue is open again, having been closed for months because of another attack, this one coming from mother nature: Hurricane Sandy.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I mentioned to my siblings that they shouldn’t be surprised if they have a sense of our mother’s presence.
Since she passed away a few weeks ago, at least one brother mentioned such an experience, felt in his yard as he was cutting some flowers.
Earlier this week, I had lunch with a young friend. He was active in my youth group when he was growing up, and from time to time we get together for some good food and conversation.
On this particular day, John wanted to do some shopping at Trader Joe’s when we were done with lunch, and, since it’s one of my favorite stores, I was happy to join him.
If you’re familiar with Trader Joe’s, you know that there are always buckets of flowers near their front doors, all available for purchase.
I had the chance to visit the Getty Museum today and it was a wonderful, albeit short visit.
Before we checked out an exhibit on the art of Florence at the dawn of the Renaissance, my family and I had a bite to eat at the museum cafe. As we sat there on the marble patio, sipping wine and eating our sandwiches, my mom made a comment about it being a quintessential California day. She was so right.
Yesterday, I had a business meeting which took me to Georgetown, one of Washington DC’s many neighborhoods.
When the meeting was over, I asked someone how to get to the nearest Metro station. It was about a mile away, and since the day was sunny and warm, I decided to walk, mostly on Q Street.
I don’t know about you, but I love to explore new places. I’ve been to Washington DC hundreds of times over the years, and now I go to grad school there, but I’ve never walked the quiet streets of Georgetown.
Strolling towards my destination, I was impressed by the various styles of architecture all around me. Small homes, mansions, all appearing very old, were built quite close together. As I made my way towards the Metro Station, single homes had given way to apartment buildings. I guess the land had become just too expensive.
Near the end of my walk, I crossed Dumbarton Bridge, built just before World War One. This bridge is also known as Buffalo Bridge, thanks to the four massive bronze sculptures that mark the bridge’s corners. I always love it when I come upon something unexpected, especially works of art. I thought for a moment that, if I had to cross this bridge each day, would I quickly stop paying attention to the majestic beauty of these sculptures? Probably.
On the other side of the bridge, I began seeing huge and grand old homes. Out front, unusual flags were flying. Ah, the embassies. How lucky those people are to work in such places, but I’m guessing they too would be less impressed as time went on.
So, the next time you have the chance, take a walk or a drive on a road less traveled. Pay attention to how people make their mark on the places they live. I hope I never stop enjoying the sight of new places and things. Maybe it will keep my mind sharp. Let’s hope so 🙂