I’m a planner. I’m a great planner. I love filling out my new calendar for the year. I color-code each family member’s activities. I have stickers and bullet points. It is a thing of beauty. I also love the research that it takes to coordinate a family trip, and have been known to make files for each person detailing the experience by each day. I love throwing together parties and special events. Seeing the expression on people’s faces as they experience an event designed for them is such a treasure. However, when it comes time for me to experience the trip or the party, I sometimes find myself a little melancholy. I struggle to stay engaged through to the end. I find myself sounding like President Bartlett in one of my favorite shows, the West Wing, asking, “Okay. What’s next?”

The dark and cold days of winter make this even more challenging. I begin to daydream about when I will wear a coat in the morning and carry it home in the afternoon. I dream of the seedling days when the plans for our small garden begin to appear when we till the ground to prepare for planting. But what about the in-between? We do have a few months left of winter. Pastor Steve assures me that we are days away from when we will once again receive much needed Vitamin D from the sun. I take some solace in that, but, as I mentioned, we still have a few months left of winter. How do I stay present, find joy in the things of today?

One of the biggest ways I stay grounded in “the today” is by following a daily bible study. For the past two years, I’ve followed The Bible Recap; a daily reading that takes me through the Bible, chronologically, reading through the Bible according to events. There is also a daily podcast to listen to that gives insight and historical context to the reading. I change my plans every few years because I enjoy reading and hearing different perspectives.

Here at Bethesda, there are a couple of ways to stay grounded in the moment. We have a weekly in person and online worship service on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. An adult education class and Sunday school follow at 10:45 am. During the week, there are opportunities to attend the exercise class, the prayer meeting, and the Daytimers class on Thursday mornings. There are many opportunities to serve. (Let me know if you would like to usher or sit at the welcome desk! We need you!) Not only are these a time for personal renewal, but a time to grow as a community. How much more joy do we find doing things in community? How much easier to stay grounded on these cold days of winter when we know we have something to look forward to, like serving for and attending a worship service?

I do have something to look forward to in about a month. I am serving on the Altar Guild for my church! It’s my first time, and I’m excited to help prepare the altar and communion for weekly services. What are you looking forward to, and what keeps you grounded in “the today?” I’d love to hear from you, from my community here at Bethesda. Feel free to email me your thoughts at amy@bethesdalutheranchurch.com.