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Thirsty soil thanks the pelting rain
Leaves surrender to autumn squalls
Squirrels thank the oaks as they bury acorns
The low-slung sun salutes the coming day
A cat naps gratefully at the window pane
And a dog adores her human companion

The gathered harvest is preserved with praise
Furry critters line burrows with leaves and tufts
Humans split spent spruce branches
Stack kindling and matches aside the hearth
The thrum of all this appreciation runs rampant
As it courses through creation
An outpouring of abundance
Overflowing all boundaries
Until thanksgiving floods
Every nook and cranny of existence

Dear family, friends, readers—
I give thanks for you and your presence in my life.
May you find blessings in this season
and new ways to celebrate love & connection
in this time of necessary social distancing.
With gratitude,
Back in 1968, my second grade teacher Mrs. Mittleman handed out watercolor sets and 12 X18 sheets of construction paper as she introduced our class to Van Gogh, Rousseau, and other masters. My version of Starry Night received an Honorable Mention at the Seal Beach Community Center art show, and began a lifelong affinity for Van Gogh and his work. One of my early short stories is a romantic fantasy about him, which won the Steinbeck Fiction Award in 2000, and was published in the Water~Stone Review in 2002. I'm delighted to have bring it to life again online.
Read If I Were Van Gogh's Girlfriend He'd Still Have Both Ears
I was a lonely young newlywed living in a town where I didn’t know a soul besides my husband when I became a believer. As a new Christian, I hoped that knowing I belonged to God would ease the deep and aching loneliness I felt after having grown up rocked by multiple divorces and a revolving door of parents and their families. Faith didn’t “cure” my loneliness, but over the years I came to see God abiding with me in it, until navigating it became familiar and no longer frightening.
Charlotte Donlon’s circumstances are different than mine. She grew up in the church in a stable family and stayed in a familiar region as an adult. But her deep and formational experience of loneliness resonated strongly with me throughout her book, The Great Belonging: How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other.
Donlon’s well organized debut offers the reader bite-sized explorations of cultural and personal expectations and experiences of faith and loneliness, along with her own struggles with mental illness. These snippets illuminate a journey that doesn't spare us from loneliness, despair, and pain, but redeems our suffering by offering a path toward wholeness. As Donlon illustrates, the path to belonging often unfolds in the smallest and simplest actions and shifts in awareness.
The Great Belonging is a welcome companion for the faithful navigating loneliness, and an honest and eye-opening source of hope for anyone suspicious of the happy problem-free prosperity Gospel being pedaled as the antidote to our existential angst.
II continue to be thankful for the opportunity to preach once or twice a month at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Shelton, where I'm waiting for the Bishop to lay hands on me to become an official member. He's supposed to visit in February, COVID-19 permitting, so hopefully then. My latest sermon, "Bridesmaids in the Dark," includes a story about my wedding. You can find it on my website's blog.
I'm thrilled to have a powerful new Tamron lens that zooms to 400mm. Here's an image taken with it last week of a duck hunter pulling his boat through the shallow water of the Skokomish River in Anna's Bay on the Hood Canal several hundred yards out from my home. Behind you see oyster beds and buildings on the shores of Potlatch, three miles away. The boat was hard to see with the naked eye due to the camo paint, but I knew that oyster bed didn't look right! 
Find more of my photos here
Copyright © 2020 Cathy Warner, All rights reserved.

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