The question: What are your seven loves? For me the answer falls into categories, more readily than it does individual items. They are: Loved Ones, The Church, Reading, Music, the Beauty of Creation, Travel, and Food.
I've been really blessed in my life with good relationships. My parents were (and are still, in my mother's case!) good people who loved me unconditionally, and showed it. Through the wonders of Facebook, I am in touch with a friend from Nursery School, friends from elementary school, high school and college, friends from seminary, and friends from the various places I have lived. I have always been a people person, and I'll always choose hanging out with friends over virtually everything else. Whenever I return to a place where I have lived, the most important thing to me is time with the friends who are still there. When I go to Western Mass, I make date after date, so that I can see those I love. (Ditto: Virginia, Michigan, New Zealand).
I could give up virtually everything else in my life, but I couldn't live without my friends. There are those who think I am addicted to technology. But, for the most part, my love of technology feeds my desire to be in touch with those I love who don't live right here, right now.
Please note that loved ones aren't limited to human loved ones, either. These days Birdie, Outtie, Sam and Basil make my heart sing, as do a number of others (including my new canine BFFs).
I've been a church rat since I was a kid. I was that girl trying to persuade the priest that girls should be altar boys, long before that was allowed. When my church started a kids' choir, I was there. I joined the youth group when that was possible. I was active in a number of campus religious organizations. I've never in my life been without a church community. And, I've never not been active in whichever church community I have joined.
Now, of course, behind that love of church is love of God. But for me, the church is the place where my love of God is strengthened and encouraged. It's the place from which I am sent, in order to be Christ's hands and feet in the world. I personally can't live out my Christian faith without a church community to do it in.
Somewhere, there is a picture of me, age two, in my father's lap, reading a book. It happened every day. I taught myself to read around age 4. And I've never stopped. My reading habits have changed - I read fewer romance novels now than I did when I was a teenager. In fact, these days much of my reading is of magazines. But, I never go anywhere without reading material. And I can tell, because I get grumpy, if I haven't taken enough time to read. These days most of my reading happens at breakfast. I'm up early, and I sit at the island in the kitchen eating my breakfast, drinking my coffee, and reading. It's a wonderful way to start my day.
While I can read music, and sing passably, my real love of music is as a listener. I traced my history with music for a friend the other day. I began with records. I used to stack them up on my parents' record player, and then lay on the floor and listen to them. I had a brief foray with 8-Track Tapes, and then moved on to cassettes. Now I'm at CDs, periodically, and mostly just electronically downloaded or streaming music.
My taste is rather eclectic. In the recently played section of my iTunes, you'll find: Paul Simon, Lady Gaga, ABBA, Men Without Hats, Girlyman, U2, and a whole collection of Classical Music. As Advent progresses, I'll start listening to the Messiah, almost exclusively.
Music soothes me, makes me happy, energizes me, or relaxes me, depending on the music and the occasion.
The Beauty of Creation
I originally wrote that I loved the outdoors. But, when I wrote the first line, I had to go back and edit. Because, it really is the beauty of creation that drives my passion here. It doesn't much matter to me whether it is the red rocks of the southwest, the crowning beauty of fjords in New Zealand, or the view from my deck. I am constantly awed by the beauty of this world we live in. I'm the girl who pulls the car over by the side of the road to gape at some new scene. In the southwest and in New Zealand, sometimes my jaw would hurt because what I saw made me grin. Repeatedly.
I think that life is one big adventure. I love going to new places and seeing new things. So far, I've been to the UK (twice) and Ireland, New Zealand (many times), all of eastern Canada, plus Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, The Bahamas, and 45 of the fifty states (I only need to go to Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, Alabama, and Louisiana to have been to them all!). I'll be going to Jerusalem in February; I'm already giddy with anticipation.
I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to try new things. Need I say more? One of the things I love about traveling is the chance to try new foods. I'll eat anything once. I also have old favorites: Lobster. Scallops (particularly the fried ones from the Dairy Bar, right here in Berlin). Really, any kind of sea food, including sushi. I also love having adventures in the kitchen. I made a great Thanksgiving dinner, and everything but the turkey was an experiment.