A have a dear friend who loves data, is so good at it, and also loves data fun facts. She shared one with me that will make your life (and possible guilt) easier:
People think they are saving water when they hand wash their dishes, but! The on-average threshold for saving more water in the dishwasher vs. hand washing is… 8 dishes. If you have 8 dishes and only 8 dishes (on average; the size would matter too) you will save more water if you wash them in the dishwasher than washing them by hand.
When I run my dishwasher, I always have more than 8 dishes in there, but this has completely eased my guilt at wanting to have it full the brim. You’re doing a good thing! Feel no guilt!
Today is the first day of Fall. Rarely does a change in seasons line up its weather so exactly, but in my region, yesterday was very warm, and overnight, we received a big cold front. I’m feeling that this morning, and I see on my phone that tomorrow’s low is 38 degrees!
I’m not entirely enthused, I admit, because I adore summer. But I’m embracing this too.
Sometimes, I like to think about the fresh start effect. When we have a new marker in time, it can be an occasion to reflect upon what we hope for within the span of that time. So what do you hope to experience this Fall? What might nurture you? How would you like to show up for others? Are there any rhythms you’d like to create? Are there any gratitudes you’d like to bring to mind?
This summer, I had some serious wonderlust. I had a seemingly relentless desire to to travel and explore. And I did a whole lot of that over the summer months, particularly in my state of Michigan.
Then we arrived collectively at Labor Day weekend, and I just felt something shift. I had planned one more day trip, but I thought, “No, I just want to stay home.” And since then, I’ve felt something different. My exploration has become even more local, not only including time outside (though still that, yes) but experiences with new people.
And all of this is a prelude to tell you about the silly, wonderful experience I had last week.
I was about to finish my work day when I asked myself, “What do I want to do tonight?” My town and my county often have a lot of events going on, so I consulted a local publication that shares daily events. Oh, I’m going to THAT, I decided, as soon as I saw it on the page.
So you guessed it! (just kidding, you’d never guess this) That is how I spent the evening connecting with and singing alongside a barbershop harmony group. Renee’s random rendezvous with Boomers who barbershop.
The name of the group is The Huron Valley Harmonizers, and these singers are so nice. So welcoming! Anyone can come sing with them. You just bop right into the rehearsal, and they’ll welcome you kindly, give you sheet music, and bring you along fully with the experience. We sang some pieces and practiced some tags. And I learned this is a thing: This group and many other groups will go to barbershop conferences where you just learn tags — harmonic endings to songs, often with big glissando slides that will end in lovely, bright major chords.
I had so much fun!
I found myself reflecting on this: Within our towns and local settings, place is a living, breathing experience that is changing all the time. That’s true in the people just like it is in the seasons. And even if we’ve been there for a while, we are re-placed all the time. We are communitied in new ways continually based on who arrives and who is new to us, even if they, like we, have been here a long time.
I like that. (In your imagination, hear those three words as a tag).
This morning, I want to extend my great gratitude to the people of First Presbyterian Church of Saline. I had the joy and privilege of sojourning with them for the last 6 months and leading their services alongside them. Soon their new pastor will be arriving. The people in this community have become great friends.
Yesterday was my last day with them in this capacity. We also had a church picnic, and they were kind enough to allow me to take one big selfie. Among other sweet moments, I received a Mr. Rogers button that says, “We are all neighbors” and knowing how much I love where I live, they commissioned a ceramic piece of art that includes both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan.
I am so grateful for something that’s started among my neighbors, and I thought I would give it a spotlight here. It’s simple, really, but I also realize that something like this is a rarity.
It’s quite easy these days not to really know our neighbors. Sure, we might know the names of the people living directly next of us, but that’s about it. Life gets busy, and we don’t want to be an intrusion. Still, we’re missing out on something, and I confess that’s how it’s been for most of the time I’ve lived in my house.
But recently, things have changed. Last month, in honor of a neighbor who died, we had a block party. I had no role in organizing this, and I’m very glad that people on my street had this idea. We got to know each other a bit more at that party, and now, ten of us (and maybe this will grow also) have a group text. From time to time, one of us will say, “I’d love to host us tonight,” and then whoever is available just bops over to that driveway, and we sit together in yard chairs and have a beverage.
This has been lovely. And my neighbors are great people. Fun people. Smart people. Caring people.
They were there the whole time! So glad we’re doing this.