Week 31 – KISS, and White Chocolate Blueberry Sciscuits

There’s something to be said for keeping life simple.

My high school art teacher – a man who had clearly smoked a few too many doobies in his day and who’s brain was set on permanent handicap mode  because of it – taught me this.

He was the first one to teach me the acronym, KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

He was also the one who asked me one day how to spell, “Mom”, and then gave up when I asked him if he was serious. He scribbled out his attempt at spelling “Mom”, and went with the much simpler form of the word – “Mother”.

True story. Continue reading

Week 29 – Drink. Sleep. Reflect.


My dear Friends –

I keep going back and forth in my head over what I might say today. I can’t find either of my sources, so I’ll just lay it all out there – Tim the Tool Man style. (Do you remember that? Home Improvement – where Tim would go out to the backyard and peer over the fence at his neighbor, Wilson and proceed to completely misquote something to him? I’m not completely misquoting, but it’s certainly not word for word either.)

Drink more, sleep more, reflect.

There. I said it.

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Week 28 – Japanese Tea Ceremony

Nestled in a book I had been reading was this:

Japanese Tea Ceremony: a way of honoring oneself by putting another’s needs first, the joy that could be found in intimate service. [This was a] conversation [my husband and I’d] had one night on the way home from a movie.  I remembered how that night he’d put toothpaste on my brush before his own, then bowed.  I’d smiled, but I’d understood too that such small gifts were one seed that blossomed in two hearts.

– Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

 

I stopped and thought for a moment.

I need to do more of this.

I have a longing in my heart to be of service to others, but when I daydream about the service I want to give, it tends to be large-scale and quixotic.

I want to help hungry people on the street.

I want to hug homeless children and pass love straight from my full, steady heart into their famished, skittery ones.

I want to hold a desperate mother’s hand and transfer a tiny bit of solace through the skin of our fingers.

I want to spark a fire of hope in the hopeless.

But as of this moment, I have yet to find the path to this service.

The reason is several fold, but I know it is a large part fear of the unknown.

Right now, I’m just trusting that I’ll get there by the route that was intended for me. My way will find me.

When I read this bit in the book though, I stopped for a moment and reread it.

Why does service need to be capacious and earth-shattering?

It doesn’t.

The spirit of service starts small.

It starts at home.

It starts with those with whom we are closest.

To sacrifice a tiny bit of our own desire for the happiness of our spouse, our son or daughter, our mother, father, brother, sister – these small acts of kindness plant seeds in the individual hearts of our family members, but also in the heart of our family as a unit.

So I will try.

I will strive to build a family with a large, thumping heart of service.

And we will start by serving each other.

Then we’ll serve friends and neighbors.

Then we’ll serve strangers.

Then, when the timing is right, it will happen; we will be holding hands with a fellow human being who needs our service like he needs air.

The gift of our sacrifice will blossom in the hearts of us all, and we won’t be able to tell who received the greater gift.

*******

Photo Credit: Original Tea Ceremony Image found here.

Week 27 – Children’s Books that Leave Lasting Impressions

Some books you just never forget about.

Some books set you and your kids on a search for another one that is just as good.

Some books make bedtime so much better.

Some books make you look at your baby and want to squeeze her and smell her hair until she tells you to stop.

Some books are beautiful and should really be read sometime soon.

Like these.

We’ve read them and loved them.

Maybe you will too!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – I was going to say these books were listed in no particular order, and really, they aren’t. BUT, Edward Tulane is my absolute favorite. My heart pitter-patters when I think about it, and my eyes shine with a hint of tears. This story is beautiful and touching, and uses prim little Edward and his haughty attitude to carry us through a journey where this fragile porcelain bunny learns which things in life are truly important. I wish I could think of a better word, but I can’t – it’s just beautiful. I read this with my boys – then 9 and 5, and it held the attention of all – even me. I was sneaking chapters after I tucked them in.

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Week 26 – Christmas In July

Guys – guess what.

Christmas is only 25 weeks away.

We’ve already lost a week since I doodled my first list (above).

I don’t want to sound like Chicken Little here, (well, I kinda do), but listen – I have a plan.

The way Christmas “gifting” usually goes in my little world, is this:

I know Christmas is coming. Someone mentions that Christmas is only 86 days away and I have a mini panic attack, even though 86 days is a ridiculously long time. Well, not really when you have science projects and sports and homework for 3 kids, and PTA meetings, and, well. . . life going on.

So I usually ignore the 86 day warning, feigning my panic as disgrace at the commercialism retail stores have wrought on Christmas.

And Thanksgiving comes and goes.

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Week 24 – Lessons from Dad

To all the great dads out there – try to kick back and relax a little today. Do what makes you happy. Grill something. Drill something. Hit some golf balls. Catch some fish. Take a nap. Eat some bacon. Hug your kids. Whatever it is, enjoy your day!

Whether he knew he was teaching them or not, my own Dad has instilled in me plenty of lessons about living, and today, I’ll leave just a few of them with you:

1. Life is not fair. – No explanation necessary. He was the first to speak it to me, and it’s nothing but true.

2. Never assume. It just makes and ass out of you and me. – Can you see it? It’s right there in the word: Ass-u-me. And it’s true. How many mistakes and humiliating moments are borne of assumption??

3. A dinner of popcorn and grapes is sometimes perfectly acceptable.

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Week 23 – Eight Phrases Worth Living

Eat your frog first. – That ugly thing you have to do today? Just do it. Bite the bullet. Yes, I’m defining one catch-phrase with other catch phrases. Good ol’ M-Tizzee hit the nail on the head with this one:

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

Fill your cup. – Literally and figuratively. Have some coffee. Or a cocktail. But just take time to make sure your tank is full. Rest, relax. Exercise. Read. Create. Fill you up so you can be there for those who need you.

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Week 22 – The Summer Bucket List

We’ve been busy bees in this house.

All sorts of things are going on in our little hive, and summer is just days away.

Mostly, we’re all just antsy to be done with commitments for a while and to start sleeping in as the every day norm.

As my family has grown though, I’ve started approaching summer with equal parts excitement and trepidation.

Ten weeks of vacation is a long time.

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Week 21 – A Field is still a Field

There is a field not far from our house.

We live in suburbia.

Cow pastures are not common in our immediate area.

But there is one here. Right around the corner. On the vertex of a busy intersection.

Local lore says there is an old woman, set in her ways, who refuses to sell.

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