February 2020 Newsletter
My youngest son’s birthday falls on the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Spring has come to Virginia early this year (as predicted by the groundhog), and the signs of change are all around us. With the days longer and warmer, the daffodils, forsythia and cherry trees have erupted in bloom. And regardless of the headlines, the extra light and brighter skies are bound to lift our emotions if we just open our minds to the beauty beyond our windows.
This year’s Spring has brought many challenges that have impacted the lives of people around the globe. It has presented us with a health crisis not seen for a century, and has turned the world as we knew it on its head. But if there is good news (and there always is), it is that all of this is happening in Springtime.
Springtime represents a time of growth, renewal, and new beginnings. As the weather warms, our bodies begin to feel more energetic, and our minds become more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our hearts. Spring is about opportunity – a time for cultivating the qualities of courage and optimism, of strengthening the belief in ourselves and our powers to overcome the obstacles before us – the greatest of which is perhaps our own fear.
As we hunker down and “shelter in place”, we can choose to use this time to capture that sense of freshness and rebirth that comes with Spring. It will always be remembered. And it can be an opportunity to lay a foundation within ourselves upon which we can rebuild. While things may be difficult, this Spring might be the perfect time to examine our lives and assess our mindsets; to reflect and form new habits that support a refreshed version of ourselves.
To help you on your way, I’ve included this link that offers helpful hints on how to let go of old mindsets and make room for new ones!
Physical distancing does NOT have to be socially isolating – Stay Connected!
Things seem uncertain at the moment, and with “social distancing” protocols in place, the feeling of loneliness can creep in. But there are new and creative ways to reach out to friends and family that may open you up to an entirely new way of getting to know each other.
Use the Technology on your Phone
Make a phone date! Set-up a standing appointment to call folks you care about. Mark the date on your calendar and keep it. We can no longer take for granted the casual get-together, so let’s work on our follow through. You’ll feel less alone the moment you hear the voice on the other end of the phone.
If you have an iPhone and if you’re up for “fixing” your face, use Facetime. If you have an Android, use Google Duo. Both apps work together so everyone in your group can participate regardless of the phone you are using.
If you prefer to chat in groups, Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom allows for more than one-on-one communication.
And here’s an excellent options for Happy Hours held online: Quarantini, anyone?
Let’s make technology work FOR us! Here are some other ideas to stay connected:
- Virtual Book Clubs: My book club has gone virtual for the time being. Follow this link to watch last month’s book club meeting and join for our discussion of The Nickel Boys next Saturday (3/28) at 1:00pm.
- Movie Buddy: Use the above apps to reach out to a friend (or even several if it’s a movie-watching party), keep the connection open and watch together. Pop the popcorn and get busy being Siskel & Ebert for a while.
Are you an artist? Bob Ross is now available on Netflix. Using one of the above apps, connect with an artist and paint along with Bob. Fun alone, but double the fun with a buddy. And if you aren’t an artist, what better time to try something new!
If you have any good ideas you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them. Email me and let’s have some fun together.
History of St. Patrick’s Day
(and the joy of a good limerick)
St. Patrick’s Day is the commemoration of the death of the patron saint of Ireland in the 5th Century. The lore tells of his kidnapping at the age of 16 from his home in Roman Britain, and his time as a slave in Ireland. He escaped but later returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people. The mythology surrounding his life became more and more ingrained in the Irish culture (though he was NOT Irish). Traditions that we observe today, such as wearing green and festive drinking and dancing, have little to do with the actual teachings or life of St. Patrick. As with most celebrations involving patron saints, the original commemoration was a somber religious observance.
Irish immigration into the U.S. brought us the St. Patrick’s Day celebration we’re most familiar with – a festival of pride in Irish ancestry and culture (and a reason to drink green beer).
For more photographs of our St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Selma, follow the link here to my online photo gallery. You’ll even find a video of bagpipes playing on the front porch.
As an aside the most popular form of poetry in the English language is the Irish limerick, used by everyone from William Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll and even James Joyce. A poet you’ve never heard of, Edward Lear, (universally acknowledged as the father of the limerick), wrote a book in 1846 that has birthed a million rhymes. Easy to remember, often impossible to forget, this is the poetry of every man (or woman), and a tribute to the lighthearted spirit of the Irish.
Sharon’s Book and Wine Club Goes Virtual!
Due to COVID-19, we are changing the format of our Book & Wine Club this month … we are going virtual. Now you can be included too. Send me a 1-2 minute video (easily record yourself using your phone) answering one-or-two of the questions below about our book, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.
- What do you think are the major plot points that commit Elwood (and the reader) to the story?
- What are the turning points that cause Elwood to act and/or change? And what about Turner? What were the major turning points for him?
- How was did you find the pacing of the book? Did it keep you engaged? Did the stakes keep escalating or did the story fall flat?
- What false-truth does Elwood believe at the beginning of the story? Did he ever discover that his belief was a lie? And what truth replaced it? How about Turner? Did he believe in a false-truth? What was it, and what replaced it?
- What is it that Elwood wanted? Was it different from what he needed? And what about Turner? What did he want? What did he actually need?
- Is there an unsung hero? (and if there is one, it can’t be Elwood or Turner!)
- Did the ending work for you? What was your impression of the TWIST?
- What would you change if you could rewrite the ending?
- Let’s talk about the symbolism of the White House, community service, monopoly, MLK. What are your thoughts?
- What did you love most about the book? What didn’t you like?
At the end of your video, tell me, out of five, how many stars?
Upload your video here.