Saturday, December 31, 2011

Be Still

Today is the last day of 2011.  It's a time to look back over the year.  My year was not at all what I had expected.  And yet, despite the rougher times, it was a good year.  I can say that I was able to truly experience what it means to be a part of community - on the receiving end this year.  And it was good.  I can say that I experienced what it means to feel the prayers of others supporting them.  And it was good.  I can say that I experienced the feeling of knowing that it was God who gave the strength and the hope and the encouragement.  And it was good.

Tomorrow is the first day of 2012.  Now is also a time to wonder about what the new year brings.  None of us knows what that will be.  And that is probably a good thing.  What we do know is that God goes with us into this new year.  And that is more than good!  God gives us hope and the promise of His abundant blessings.  And that is also more than good!

For the last number of years I have focused on words rather than making resolutions.  While that focus got blurred at times, having the focus to come back to has been such a blessing to me. 

For the last number of years, I couldn't decide which of several words to focus on, so I had a couple.  This year is different.  I do have one focus that I hope to base my life on. 

Be still.  This comes from Psalm 46:10.  "Be still and know that I am God."

I want to take the time to be still.  This means taking time to stop.  Taking time to see God.  To know God.  It also means trying not to worry.  To still the thoughts that sometimes swirl through my mind. 

As I was putting in the pictures for this post, a thought about being still occurred to me.  Still waters reflect their surroundings more clearly than rough water.  I want to be still so that I can better reflect the gifts of God. 

I love the way it is put in the Message.  "Step out of the traffic!  Take a long, loving look at me, your High God."

Be still.

Christmas will never end.

The Christmas celebration with my family has ended.  My time with family was wonderful.  We really enjoyed each other's company.  Many of us went to a candlelight service on the 24th before getting together at my brother's house.  What a delight to worship together and then to enjoy our annual book exchange.  It is such a good way that we can all be involved and celebrate.  Christmas dinner was, as always, delightful.  And the game of Catch Phrase afterwards will not be forgotten.  Thanks, Dad, for your contribution to the memories.  And thanks for being able to laugh with us.

The celebration of Christmas is over.  But Christmas is not over - and it never will be.  The true gift - the gift of Jesus is eternal.  And everyday!  What a reason to celebrate each and every day.

My list of gifts continues - heading closer to 1000!
744) a beautiful sunset of reds and oranges
745) a tiny sliver of the moon shining brightly in the deep blue of a winter morning sky
746) a child reaching for my hand
747) the words of encouragement on Christmas cards from students
748) the contentment I felt when I watched my students focused and learning - even during the last few days before holidays
749) the feeling of peace leaving work for a holiday - especially since all my marking is done
750)pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate - and made by a student
751) celebrating a friend's birthday with her - and with other friends
752) finishing mending for my sister (which had been sitting here since the summer and only took 30 minutes to do)
753) anticipating the look on her face when she opened her "gift"
754) packing to go spend Christmas with family
755) an eagle at the side of the highway - close enough to get a good look at
756) arriving "home" to my parents and a sister
757) hugs from nieces and nephews
758) delighting others with gifts
759) playing games with family
760) laughing with family
761) the camaraderie of working together to put together our part of the Christmas dinner
762) finding that elusive puzzle piece I had been searching for (which shouldn't have been hard to find)
763) going for lunch with my parents and a sister - and being served by my beautiful niece
764) completing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle
765) coming back "home" again to my home
766) lunch with a friend
767) running errands without feeling rushed
768) the opportunity to attend a World Junior Championship hockey game with family

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Tonight was the annual Candlelight service at my church.  I must say that I am so happy that the service is held prior to Christmas Eve.  If it wasn't, I would miss it all the time.  It is one of my favourite services.  Very profoundly moving.  Tonight was no exception.  There was so much talk about light and darkness, songs about light and darkness, traditional Christmas songs, and other favourite songs.  At the end of the service, the sanctuary lights were turned off and the light was passed from the Christ candle to the candles each member of the congregation held.  The light spread and the sanctuary grew warm with light.  All while we sang "Silent Night."  Truly awe-inspiring and poignant.  Pointing to the reason we celebrate - the Light has come to the world of darkness.  Thank you, Jesus, for coming to spread your light!

Another thing I did today was to finish my Christmas cards.  The picture above is what I put on the cards.  The message inside was from a song. 

Light of the world,
You stepped down into darkness….
King of all days
oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor.
Chris Tomlin

It was absolutely lovely to spend my day with the focus on the light of Christ.

I even took the time to continue my list of gifts.
722) watching children proclaim the powerful message of Christmas in their Christmas program at church
723) the smell of fresh ginger
724) a gift of meals of soup
725) the enthusiastic and heartfelt singing of a young girl, singing that stands out in a crowd and brings a smile to so many faces
726) morning sun ont he tops of snow-covered mountains - all that and blue sky, too
727) the complete silliness of dancing plastic flowers in the bank window - facing the drive-through lane for the ATM
728) the joy of Safeway having the gift cards I wanted to buy for Christmas --
729) which mean that I could kill 2 birds with one stone(what a gory saying!)
730) the gift of free admission passes to a Christmas event
731) the peacefulness of the city night, blanketed in freshly fallen snow
732) time with friends
733) successfully finishing a quilt block that had 51 pieces (yes 51!)
734) the joyful squeals of children enjoying sledding in the snow
735) a lesson that clicks - and students learn with delight
736) cumin
737) the satisfaction of making Christmas cards
738) each card and letter arriving in my mailbox - a symbol of the people who have been and are a part of my life - gifts to me
739) a candlelight service
740) the impact of watching the church light up as the congregation passes the light
741) a young gifl using her violin to praise God and add to the worship service
742) the flickering beauty of candlelight
743) tea with a friend - and catching up with her!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Appreciative Living

When we hang our hopes for happiness on things that are outside of our control, we set ourselves up for disappointment….We give up our power.  We let go of our responsibility for joy.  This is a very vulnerable place to be, and we end up becoming dependent on others for our happiness……..The more attached we are to an outcome, the more dependent we become on it, and the bigger the disappointment when it doesn’t happen.”  Jacqueline Kelm in The Joy of Appreciative Living   p. 86 and 87
While I really like what this has to say, it is missing something very important.  And that is that those things that are outside our control are in God's control.  I will admit to being incredibly happy to know that, ultimately, it is God in control of my life and not me.  While I will also admit that not everything that happens in my life is what I would wish for, what matters most of all is that God is what I wish for - and then some.
I had time for a glorious walk this morning in our winter wonderland, a city covered in a deep blanket of fresh snow.  And I was reminded anew that when I take time to "be still and know that God is God" (Ps. 46:10) I am able to see His incredible gifts, large and small.  When I am still, there is room in my brain to SEE.
The list of gifts continues......
703) Christmas cactus in bloom
704) clean sheets - and, no, that NEVER gets old!
705) the smooth feel of crisp, new fabric
706) amazing school secretaries
707) being able to make some one's day
708) dinner with colleagues/friends
709) the thoughtfulness of a friend
710) the thoughtfulness of administrators
711) an incredible gift of time
712) getting home safely on snowy streets
713) quilting and lunch with friends
714) mounds of snow piled on remnants of summer flowers
715) pristine snow caps on brilliant red bunches of mountain ash berries
716) walking under a canopy of pine branches covered in fluffy white blankets of snow
717) walking in a winter wonderland
718) boots that are high enough to keep the snow out as I wandered through deep fresh snow
719) blue Alberta skies over the bright white snow blanketing the city
720) a beautiful bird soaring through the brilliant blue Alberta sky
721) the squeak of snow underfoot

Sunday, November 27, 2011

and the list goes on

I have nothing profound to say today.  And when I looked at my collection of quotes, nothing stood out for me either.  So - the list of gifts will stand on its own.  And that's okay.  Noting the gifts is a gift in and of itself.

691) books and the power of story
692) creativity
693) friends who help pull together a costume for Book Character Day
694) grade 1 and grade 4 students writing stories together
695) parent volunteers
696) students helping each other
697) colleagues who help me out when my car "dies" (Thanks T.T., B.K., and S.B.)
698) celebrating and thanking with family
699) finding new sweaters - and then the bonus - sweet sale price shows up at the till
700) a gift of a book - thanks S.B.
701) homemade cinnamon bun with a mug of peppermint tea
702) being able to celebrate my niece's 22nd birthday with her

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Licking the Bowl Clean

"...taste the goodness of God and savor  long — not wolfing anything down because life is dessert  and worth licking the bowl right clean."
  Ann Voskamp on her blog A Holy Experience - Weekends are for Dessert

I've been pondering the words from Psalm 46:10 this last week or so.  "Be still and know that I am God."  And that means that I have to remind myself to be still.  It's a busy time for teachers right now as it is time to write report cards (although we always laugh and actually wonder what time, except for holidays, is not busy). And it is hard to be still when I feel the weight of the task.  It's a good task, I suppose, and an important one, but it can be all-consuming.  I didn't get as far as I wanted to yesterday (perhaps my goal was somewhat overly ambitious) and I found myself tempted to continue working on report cards today.  Seriously tempted.  Even though I have a firm policy about not doing school work on Sundays.  It even crossed my mind when I came home from church today.  It would be so easy to just take an hour or two and work on a few more.  It would make my week easier.  But would it really. 

I need to be still and rest.  (And sharpen my saw.  See a post from a couple of weeks ago.)  In my being still, I checked out a link from A Holy Experience.  And, to my surprise, there was some "stuff" there pointing me back to Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."  I don't think that's a coincidence.

Here is some of what I found there. 

When God said for us to be still and know that He is God, I think He meant it as a gift for us. When the voice of the shame of inactivity becomes louder than the voice of grace, let that be a red flag of warning. Allow yourself to sit long enough so the anxiety gives way to rest.

Maybe I should consider scheduling in time for wonder.

It doesn't say be still and feel, it says be still and know.

.....leave room for your soul to breathe....
Chatting at the Sky   These may not all be on this post, but they are from this blog (I'm pretty sure).

So, today, I am trying to wait for the anxiety about getting report cards done to dissipate.  And looking to give my soul room to breathe.  This is one way.  To focus on the gifts God has given me in the last week.  The ones I have seen, anyway.

672) the bright light of moonlight in the dark night sky
673) coming home to a clean house (Thanks, K.V.)
674) coming home and finding that the snow has been cleared from my sidewalk.
675) being able to do the same for my neighbours
676) parent of a student who volunteers - last minute - to help out for a field trip, responding to a need
677) successful art projects completed by students
678) silk long underwear
679) the delight of students after playing outside
680) the generosity of a student to another student
681) the other student's willingness to accept her offer
682) the student in turn trying to find a hat for another classmate to wear
683) a student demonstrating her desire to learn
684) someone who willingly helps me out by watching my students so I could meet with a parent (Thanks, S.C.)
685) playing with words and having fun with sentences
686) laughing with students
687) administrators who are willing to go outside with students during cold weather
688) a warm home
689) hot peppermint tea
690) sunny blue Alberta skies

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Response to Life

Father, You have given me this day.  May I live it to Your glory.  Let my response to life be an encouragement to those around me.  You give me purpose.  Amen.
That's it.  Nothing more to add to this.  It speaks for itself.  And I really need to repeat this every morning.  Maybe every afternoon and evening, too.

The list of gifts continues.......
643) words of encouragement
644) a young girl applying life principles to a major event in her life
645) full moon in a sky tinges with pink
646) students finding solutions to a challenging problem
647) Remembrance Day
648) talking and laughing with friends
649) encouragement from parents of students
650) hugs from children
651) messages from friends and family on my answering machine
652) lunch with family
653) a day with a friend
654) enjoying the creative gifts of others
655) the beauty of the golden rolling hills of the foothills
656) panekoeken
657) warming up under a cozy fleece blanket
658) giving a friend a home-made bag for her birthday
659) celebrating a friend's birthday with her
660) students delighting in what they have accomplished
661) watching students find ways to solve difficult problems
662) a guest speaker who gets students thinking about important justice issues
663) Saturday morning quilting with friends
664) the giggles over vacuuming fabric fluff off my feed (and clothes, truth be told)
665) trying out an idea found on the Internet - a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt

666) dinner out of my freezer, a reminder of the gift my community is to me
667) moonlight filtering through the clouds, creating a beautiful and mysterious glow
668) scalp massage while getting my hair washed prior to a haircut
669) the sacrament of baptism, where God's claim on a child is demonstrated
670) the picture of community surrounding these children and families in prayer
671) the deceptively simply combination of flavours - carrots, ginger, onion, broth - creating delectable soup

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sharpening the Saw

Suppose you came upon a man in the woods feverishly sawing down a tree.

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he replies, “and I’m beat. This is hard.”

“Maybe you could take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw. Then the work would go faster.”

“No time,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing.”

By Steven R. Covey

This little story has been quietly sitting on the list of quotes that speak to me.  And yet, it hasn't truly entered into me.  I'm not so good at taking a break for a few minutes and sharpening that saw.  I need to really work at that.  Hmm.  Should that be work?  Or should that be rest?  In my heart, I know what feeds my soul.  But my head takes over and the tyranny of "the list" takes over.  This week I sat and simply read for an hour one night.  And I couldn't believe just how much of a break that was - how much it revived me.  My goal is that next week I will try to take some breaks during the workday, and maybe even sit in the staffroom for more than 5 minutes during one of the recesses.  My goal is that I will sharpen the saw so that the work I do can be of more benefit to those around me.

I do know that stopping to think of the gifts of the day also helps to sharpen my saw.  The list continues.  (My students have far surpassed my list.  Last I saw they were over 1030.  And this since September.  A few have really latched onto the concept.)

601) the colours and promise of a beautiful sunrise
602) inspiring keynote speaker
603) time with colleagues
604) new ideas springing from workshops and speakers
605) the mystery and beauty of fog shrouding the prairie landscape
606) having time to chat with a friend
607) hospitality shared with me
608) a wonderful walk with friends by a lake on a beautiful autumn day
609) breakfast and a movie with loved ones
610) spending time with one of my sisters at the teachers convention
611) time to appreciate creative gifts at an art show
612) a sunny, crisp autumn walk
613) Sunday afternoon phone call with my parents
614) the heartfelt prayers of children
615) dinner and conversation with friends
616) parent volunteers
617) a day in the mountains with students
618) seeing students appreciate and encourage each other
619) seeing students demonstrate fascination with God's creation
620) the warmth of a school bus after a cold and windy day outside
621) being the one caught in traffic and not the one involved in the accident
622) watching students help each other
623) students who want to learn and who accept responsibility for learning
624) planting orange tulip bulbs in memory of a special young man
625) a weekend with one of my sisters
626) harvesting carrots with children

627) watching 2 children run excitedly to give my sister a hug
628) spontaneous invitation for dinner
629) celebrating Reformation Day with a combined church service
630) standing in the peaceful woods, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, and hearing water gurgling over stones

631) sunshine sparkling on water which flows through golden grasses

632) a gift of soup for dinner
633) dinner with family members
634) sitting beside a young boy who is delighted to show me a computer game
635) hugs in the hallway
636) laughing with students over unplanned jokes
637) a meaningful illustration in chapel
638) conversations with parents of students - working together towards a common goal
639) a lesson/activity which goes exceptionally well, and having an administrator walk in during that time
640) big, fluffy snowflakes that make you want to catch them on your tongue
641) sunshine that melts the frost on the car
642) being able to help a young girl and lend her shoes to wear home (and that she knew she could come to me for help)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quilt of Hope

There is an online Quilt Festival going on right now.  I enjoy looking through the blogs, admiring the quilts, and reading the stories of the quilts.  And I decided that I would add my quilt and story to the mix. 

Technically, this is not yet a quilt.  It's not even quite a quilt top as it is waiting for two more strips to be added to the edges.  But it is still my quilt of hope. 

Here's why.  Last spring I suddenly had to go in for surgery.  And it was pretty serious surgery.  I ended up having the opportunity go out of town the weekend before the surgery.  The object of the weekend away was a quilt show in a city nearby.  As my dear friend and I wandered around the quilt show, I said that it probably wasn't a great idea for me to be buying any fabric at the time.  My friend just looked at me and told me that I should not be saying that.  Feeling duly chastened (and having been given permission to buy more fabric), I bought a bunch of fat quarters in browns and blues.  Those fat quarters ended up being the basis of this quilt top.  It truly is my quilt of hope. 

(Oh, and God was good.  The surgery went well!)

Check out the other quilts in the festival.

So, apparently I don't know how to add buttons so the button doesn't work.  Use this link.     Bloggers' Quilt Festival    

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturated with Joy

Even in the wake of great sorrow, the world is saturated with cause for joy, if we can only open ourselves fully.  p. 12 in the P.S. in The Sad Truth About Happiness by Anne Giardini

This has been sitting in my list of quotes for quite some time.  And today seems the time that it's been waiting for.  In the last week, a family in my church community experienced great sorrow.  That great sorrow extended well into the church community, and beyond, encompassing several different communities.  A family had to bury their 15 year old son, brother, grandson, cousin, and nephew.  It was hard.  BUT there were still signs of joy.  His older sister drew an amazing picture of her brother walking hand in hand with Jesus, heading to heaven with a body that was healed.  His parents were visible pictures of strength for each other as they shared stories about him at the memorial service.  Symbols of hope were passed out after the service.  Tulip bulbs.  Things that look dead, dry, and wrinkled; but which offer the promise of life and colour in the spring.  A very moving thought.
Then last night I went to an evening to raise money to educate women in Somalia.  The speaker was Amanda Lindhout.  She spoke movingly about her experiences in captivity.  One particularly inspiring part of her speech was about when her attitude changed.  God gave her a sense of peace and, despite the horrific circumstances, she began to deliberately take the time to notice the signs of humanity in her captors.  She looked for signs of joy.  She opened herself to that possibility.
These are reminders of just how much God blessed us.  And of just how much we (I) need to open our (my) eyes to see the signs of joy He has given to us.
Here are some more of the signs of joy I have been able to see.
513) a day spent with 2 of my aunts

514) fall colours in the mountains on a sunny day

515) the myriad number of shades of green in the mountains
516) sunlight sparkling on cascading water
517) the invigorating and cleansing aroma of the pine forests
518) the pop of lids on homemade salsa
519) the camaraderie of making salsa together
520) homemade salsa
521) the fresh feeling of a haircut
522) golden hay bales scattered over a golden field
523) the colours of the North Saskatchewan River valley
524) shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds, creating stairways to heaven
525) sunlight glistening on a pond
526) look of surprise and joy on a mother's face when her daughter comes home to surprise her
527) seeing my grandmother
528) family time
529) celebrating the 50th birthdays of 3 family members
530) teamwork to create brunch
531) sentinel hawk on a dead tree at the side of the highway
532) fences clinging to the undulating hills, adding a lace-like finish
533) picking sweet peas on Oct. 2nd!
534) autumn glory in the Bow River valley
535) arriving home after a weekend away
536) safe travels on a busy highway
537) deep orange pumpkins
538) hugs from children
539) laughter
540) picking vine-ripened tomatoes in my own backyard
541) the smell of a vine-ripened tomato
542) the taste of a vine-ripened tomato (especially right after it's picked)
543) clean laundry
544) cards and drawings from students
545) borrowing a book from a student
546) sipping hot peppermint tea while rain patters on the roof
547) snow-capped mountains tinged pink in the early morning and flanked by a carpet of autumn gold and green
548) the musty damp smell of the woods in the fall
549) a long stroll in one of my favourite places
550) playing with my camera, finding glimpses of God in the fall beauty
551) having my parents stay overnight
552) a carpet of golden leaves on the grass
553) loving greeting from children as I enter church
554) loving, encouraging words from an aunt
555) breakfast lovingly prepared by family and enjoyed with family
556) delightful Indonesian meal prepared by an uncle and his wife, and enjoyed with family
557) a niece who really wanted me to meet her boyfriend - knowing that I am important to her
558) the delight shown by the recipient of a gift
559) a walk in one of my favourite spots
560) walking hand in hand with a young girl and bursting into the same song at the same time
561) giggling with her after that happened
562) the prayers of children
563) watching a family support loved ones in a time of loss
564) watching the sky change as the sun rises - pink clouds, bright orangish horizon - promises of the day to come
565) watching a harvest moon rise - full and orangish
566) the beautiful and powerful tribute parents gave to their special son the day they buried his body
567) the visible love for each other and for Connor as they shared the tribute
568) the symbolism of orange tulip bulbs to remember that special son - something that looks dead, but has the promise of life, just like Connor and his new life with Jesus
569) a sea of orange as a community honoured Connor
570) times when children, on their own accord, offer to help each other
571) completing a job that had loomed over me
572) encouraging words of appreciation from a former student, one I hadn't seen in years
573) words of encouragement and support from parents of students
574) the promise of a weekend with time to refresh and renew
575) walking through crunchy fall leaves
576) the delight of children as they jump into piles of leaves
577) countless hugs in the hallway at school
578) time to plan with my colleague
579) administrators who demonstrate care, compassion, and creativity - giving of themselves
580) the mountain silhouette behind hills ablaze with the gold of autumn, bring a smile and a lift as a very tired me drove away from work after a tiring (but good) week
581) time with a good friend, doing the things we love, but more importantly, just being
582) spontaneity
583) playing with fabric and finding a combination that is both fun and attractive
584) the colours and textures of foods at the market
585) peppers
586) squashes and pumpkins
587) crisp apples
588) the inspirational story of Amanda Lindhout, a woman who suffered much and who is not serving the country of those who hurt her
589) the stories of women who seek to improve their lives and the lives of others around them
590) the ease of obtaining groceries for the week
591) still picking sweet peas on Oct. 15th
592) the gurgle of water over stones
593) a Sunday afternoon walk in one of my favourite places
594) witnessing the heartfelt and moving profession of faith of a delightful young woman
595) the satisfaction of making 10 lunches to put in the freezer
596) laughing aloud as I listened to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
597) a weekly chat with my mom
598) the rings of growth on tree trunks
599) The tranquil feeling of sitting on a bench, watching little fish and hearing the rippling water and the "silence"
600) being together with all of my siblings

Sunday, September 25, 2011


As you may have noticed, Ann Voskamp's words often strike a chord with me.  This weekend that was the case once again.  Well, actually twice as I caught up on her blog. 

Make every moment a door opening to simple goodness .....  Here's the link to the entire post.  Weekends are for doors.

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect.  You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.    When things get broken 

So, this weekend, I am trying to open doors and see joy.  Yesterday was beautiful that way. 

The gifts continue.....
462) the aroma of fresh lime juice
463) parents who willingly do a job to help me - and finish it quickly!
464) seeing improvements in behaviour of students and the meeting of expectations
465) spontaneous invitations and time for family dinner - of Indonesian food
466) restaurant owner NOT charging for the entire meal
467) spectacular silhouette of the mountains against a sunset sky
468) watching my students work with younger students
469) dinner with friends
470) talking with a friend
471) coming home to a card from a friend
472) weekends
473) sleeping until 7:30
474) community celebrating a new son
475) catching up with people
476) meeting new people and finding connections
477) watching young girls delight in a baby
478) expressions of concern and care
479) a virtual walk with my sister
480) morning sun on sunflowers
481) the way sunflowers turn to the sun
482) the musical sounds of wind chimes
483) my front step on a sunny afternoon
484) borrowing a book from a friend
485) the way a friend follows her passions - and blends them
486) a happy ending to a canoe spill (not me in the canoe!)
487) neighbour girls coming and bringing me a piece of birthday cake
488) a student remembering a need of another student and making sure that need was met
489) a glorious orange sunrise
490) an autumn drive in the country on a sunny day
491) tramping through the woods
492) administration who demonstrate compassion and care to staff
493) surprisingly warm fall mornings

more to come...... time has run out... and I must head off to church

Church was fabulous this morning.  A long service that didn't feel long because of the content.  I'm glad I was there.

494) a tomato ripening on the vine
495) students who notice the need of others and freely offer assistance
496) Tim Tams (straight from Australia!)
497) children who are eager to show gratitude
498) tea with friends
499) hugs from children
500) expressions of gratitude from parents of students
501) feeling stronger as the weeks go by
502) good results from Mom's biopsy
503) all clear from surgeon - healed from minor surgery in August
504) golden leaves against a clear blue sky
505) watching a little girl try out her new bike with her mom and grandma
506) a smile and wish for a good weekend from a student
507) the crunch of leaves on a sunny morning walk
508) a summery evening walk in a favourite park with a friend
509) sitting on a bridge looking at peaceful scenery, listening to rippling water, and talking with a friend

510) sunlight catching golden leaves in the morning
511) crisp, cool cheeks after a morning walk
512) a meaningful, challenging, encouraging, and inspiring church service