The Good Stuff: Vol. 2

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{A weekly collection of the good things filling life with blessings and joy}

Holding On

  • To spring and all the little things we waited through winter to enjoy again– the sound of birds singing and peepers peeping, the warm breeze wrapping around me while I sit by the lake and watch my son play in the water, and all the lush, brand new green showing off like it’s been waiting all year to open up and let us see what it’s been working on. IMG_20170516_182621_982
  •  To naptime and having a few minutes to myself each day before 1) Roman grows out of napping or 2) I can’t get both Roman and the baby on the same schedule and someone is always awake (have mercy).

Loving

  • Maui Babe Browning Lotion. This stuff is legit. I picked a bottle up in Kauai last year and it’s seriously amazing. You add a little over top of some sun screen and you can have a nice tan quickly without spending tons of time in the sun– love it.
  • Watermelon. I’ve craved fruit, and watermelon in particular, like crazy with both pregnancies. Unfortunately, most of my pregnancy has been through the winter when watermelon is unavailable. Totally ate a whole watermelon by myself last week to make up for lost time; I regret nothing ;]

Letting Go

  • Of expectations. I’m trying to be more flexible and roll with life better instead of having everything planned out in my head and getting frustrated or disappointed when things don’t go as I imagined. There is a lot of joy to be found in taking life as it is rather than stewing over how you think it should have been.
  • Of the “stuff” that no longer serves us. It’s easy when you’ve invested time or money into something to feel guilty or wasteful about letting it go. But if something has become dead weight or clutter, I’m purging and leaving it behind. Stuff is just stuff and I’d rather have simplicity and peace of mind in the space we inhabit over holding onto material things that no longer meet our needs.

What are you holding onto, loving, or letting go of this week?

The Seeds We Plant

It’s getting cold here in New England; it even snowed a little the other day. Today when I went outside it felt so warm I thought it must be in the 70s but the temperature read only 48°. Regardless, I celebrated the heat-wave by leaving my coat home today :]

As warm as 48° feels, winter is still inching in around us and Darren and I were busy for a few days trying to beat the frost and get hundreds {or a billion} daffodil, crocus, and tulip bulbs dug up and transplanted for spring. That’s the thing about flowers and spring—you have to plan ahead if you want to see color and results when the world finally thaws out months from now.

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We got all the bulbs in the ground where we wanted them and then a few days later it was really warm and pretty so I kicked off my shoes, rolled up my pant legs, and went around the yard filling the wheel-barrow up with pretty round rocks to use as a border around the flowers. It took a lot of loads back and forth to wrap all the way around the area I wanted but it felt good to be outside tramping around in the dirt and grass. Darren called me Tom Sawyer the rest of the day but I think he meant it affectionately :]

I’ve been thinking a lot about those little bulbs we put into the ground and all the work and planning that goes into having a pretty yard and garden come spring. And I’ve thought a lot too about all the other seeds we plant, not in the yard and garden, but in our hearts and lives.

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Words, actions, thoughts, decisions—these are the seeds planted throughout our lives that carry with them the power to grow either beauty or weeds in the soil of our hearts and souls.

I think about the words we hear growing up and how those little seeds grow in us and shape us for better or worse all throughout our lives. I think about all the decisions we make and how they too take root and grow into either weeds or blossoms in the tender sod of hearts.

Once weeds take root, they are hard to pluck out; they hold on and keep coming back up over and over again. It doesn’t seem fair that just the opposite is true of flowers—they are tender, delicate, easy to root out and kill. Beauty and blossoms have to be nurtured or they will suffer and die.

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It’s just the same with nurturing beauty in our hearts and lives—you only need be told once that you are stupid or unwanted to have that weed planted in your heart—and plucking it back out will likely have to be done again and again as the weeds keep springing back up. But it seems we must be told many times throughout our lives that we are loved and wanted and worthy before those tender seeds take root and are finally settled into our hearts producing fruit.

So be careful of the seeds you plant—the words, the actions, the thoughts and decisions. Be careful of the seeds you plant in the lives of others and careful of the seeds you let take root in your own heart and soul.

Because once weeds take root they are hard to pluck out and blossoms easily die.

Life Lately.

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Two of my dearest friends came to visit for the week.

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We talked and laughed and explored the streets together and were reminded why we have loved each other so much from the start

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Who couldn’t love a friend with penguin socks?

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We ransacked the dessert section in my favorite Italian coffee shop

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And explored all the beautiful streets and corners of some of my favorite towns. I could take a picture of every perfect little piece of New England architecture

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And perfect little bird houses too

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The other day after exploring my favorite bookstore I came home with lots of old maps, a book printed on a letterpress with raised words you can feel when you run your fingers over the page, a stunning book of American poetry with a bunch of my favorite authors all wrapped up between the same two covers, and a little bitty book of Shakespeare too :]

The trees are blushing crimson in the warm light of spring

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And the sunshine is warming everything up

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And these two are warming my heart up :]

The World is Waking Up

“i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
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(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

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how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

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(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”

The poem  i thank you God for most this amazing by e. e. cummings

Listen to the Rain

Listen to the rain pounding on the glass.

Its rain not snow— we’ve come out of one thing and into another. Winter inches back, spring unfurls in raindrops and daffodils.

The sky is gray today but the clouds water the earth and we are all waking up to new life and new hope. There is blue sky and sunshine behind the clouds of gray. There is green grass and flowers vibrant waiting under the damp sod.

The rain means something; it means we are to the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Spring is falling from heaven in the rain and we are waking up with the sleepy damp earth.

Listen to the rain pounding on the glass. Like the beating of your heart, it means we are alive.

Behind the Clouds

On Thursday a winter storm rolled in. Winter weather is always disappointing this time of year when our hearts are set on spring. Apparently Mother Nature does not care if she’s a heartbreaker and was happy to shower us with snow and cold.

We couldn’t get our car up the hill we live on with all the snow on the road so we ended up abandoning it in a parking lot a mile from our house. Darren and I walked the rest of the way home at midnight with the snow still coming down. We were a sight with Darren wearing my fur-lined hood and each of us wearing one of his gloves. We were also carrying a box of ice cream because, snow or not, you don’t want to leave a perfectly good box of ice cream behind.

The next morning we grabbed a shovel and loaded backpacks up with rock salt hoping we would be able to get the car out of the snow. We bundled up and began marching back down the road to the car. We took about five steps before we started falling on our butts. Darren was walking along and fell flat on his bum. I try to be supportive so I laughed at him. He fell two or three more times and I started telling him he would have to walk alone if he was going to be so embarrassing and then I fell right flat on my bum too; that’s what you get for running your mouth and teasing. Every time one of us would get up the other would fall down and we slipped and slid the whole way down the road. It was very funny really, and there is nothing you can do but laugh at yourself in a moment like that.

We made it to the car and were happy to see it hadn’t been towed; we were very worried about that. But it was very, very buried in snow. Honestly, you could hardly even see it in the snow drift. Darren started shoveling it out and I started cleaning it off but the snow was coming down so hard that all my work was covered right back up. We got in the car dripping wet with melting snow and after a couple tries, we were back on the road.

When the wind and the snow are blowing in your face and the whole world seems buried beneath a veil of grey and white, you can’t imagine that the snow will ever melt or the sun will ever shine. But we woke the next day to a clear blue sky and mild spring temperatures.

It is just like Robert Frost said in his poem:

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
From the poem Two Tramps in Mud Time

The warm temperatures quickly melted the snow off the roads and Darren and I actually went for another walk the next day—only this time it was for the pleasure of the warm air and sunshine and neither of us fell down. I kept looking at the cobalt sky and I was a little amazed that it had actually been there all along, only hidden behind the clouds and the snow. The blue sky never exactly went away; it was only veiled by the weather.

Life is like that too, I suppose. Life gets stormy and we fall down and it’s hard to imagine that the sun ever shone or will ever shine again. But it does. The clouds clear, we get back up, and the sun continues to shine. Even though we could not see it, the sun never stopped shining and the blue sky never failed. Our vision was veiled but nothing was ever really lost to the storms and clouds.

I’m trying to remember this, that the sky is always blue…right behind the clouds.

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Breathe in the Outside Air

I need to go outside. I need to breathe in the outside air, feel the sunshine on my skin, the wind on my face. I need to walk in the woods, feel the earth crunch beneath my feet. I need to sit by the ocean, toes buried in sand, salty sea on my lips. I need to climb a tree, feel the rough bark against my skin, see the world from above. I need to hear the birds sing, listen to the leaves rustle with the breeze. I need to smell earth wake up again in blossoms and blooms. I am alive when the earth is alive. I am awake when I’m outside.

Spring is coming, we are almost there. Winter will let go, earth will wake up again. We are almost there.

Dandelion

Oh, Taraxacum officinale, you whimsical hippy flower. You start out golden and vain–sunshiny hair blowing in the wind. You grace spring early–hurrying the snow on its way, standing tall before the other flowers have courage enough to poke heads through the cold, damp sod. You are called “dent de lion”–lion’s tooth, with lion-like mane of fierce, unruly hair. But your life is short-lived, dear dandelion. The sun begins to warm and your sunshiny hair begins to fade. Your glowing mane turns fuzzy frenzy. The soft breeze blows your soft hair away. You are gray and balding. Hippy flower that you are, will not submit to the rules of age and even in balding you delight in your own magical way. Each lock of hair a magic wand in the wind. You let down your hair–sprinkling it across the land, through the woods–like mystical fire flies flitting through the night. You proud, vain perfectly perfect hippy flower.

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The Baby Leaves!

My husband always calls the first leaves of spring “baby leaves” because he gets a kick out of how tiny and bright they are. I decided to write a ditty about these baby leaves in honor of the first day of spring :] I hope you enjoy the baby leaves as they start to poke out in your part of the country!

The birds are singing and the peepers are peeping,

The buds are bursting with baby leaves and blooms.

The flowers are poking their heads through the sod

Ready to unveil the canvas painted all winter long.

The sky is competing with nature’s awakening hues

deepening ever in cobalt blue.

The windows are open, the breeze blows in–

The bugs think it’s an invitation to come in.

The ants are busy, busy as bees

but none are busy as the baby leaves.

A new generation, a grand debut!

The leaves work quickly, they must work fast–

by summer heat their lives are half past.

They delight in the spring with life anew,

Shade in the summer in rich emerald hue.

By autumn’s entrance they are golden and proud

blushing in crimson, pleasing the crowd.

They fall to ground robing it in color,

Sleep all winter getting ready for summer.

We wait and we watch until spring comes again–

until the baby leaves trust the sun’s warm rays

and burst forth with new life for a few short days.