Since moving to Connecticut in May of 2017, it became a personal mission to get to know our state better.  I discovered that there are 169 towns in this small state and set a goal to visit every one.  Just driving through doesn’t count! 

So I bought a handy guidebook (Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport & Guide to Exploring Connecticut by Martin Podskoch), joined a Facebook group (Connecticut Wonderful), started following the Connecticut Office of Tourism on Instagram, and just began talking to people about local spots to explore. 

Sometimes I go to a town and take a walk in a state park or on the town green.  Sometimes I go shopping in unique downtown stores or visit a library or churches. 
Other times, I frequent a coffee shop, brewery, or local restaurant. 
The point is to get a feel for the town, maybe learn something new. 
But also to just have fun since I love to travel and often experience wanderlust. 
(My mother, the Army brat, is both to blame and thank for this)!

In the beginning, this was a solo adventure.  Now Neill comes with me on many trips. 
As I often say, no one loves Connecticut more than my husband.  And there are some places he has wanted me to see along the way.
Covid put a real damper on my progress, but I am happy to report that I am now at 112 towns visited of the 169.  57 towns left to go!  (Mostly in Fairfield County, New Haven County, and Litchfield County).  The trips are certainly taking more time and planning these days as they are farther afield from Colchester.

We live in a beautiful world, and that’s a thought I often have.
One way to connect to God is to look at God’s creation with awe in our hearts. 
Sometimes we almost seem to sleepwalk through life. 
One day turns into another, days turn into weeks, turn into months, turn into years . . . 
The challenge is to wake up!  To look around us and take it all in on our journeys.

We don’t have to travel across the country or the world to experience awe in encountering God’s good creation, including God’s good people.
I find that being grounded in God is partly about the invitation to pay attention and be present, wherever we happen to find ourselves. 
We may just discover that there is beauty all around us.

Pastor Lauren 

Photo of a neighborhood mural in Hartford by Rev. Lauren L. Ostrout.

Thursday Thoughts 4/27/23