It seems to be the kind of day that makes me yawn, makes me want to snuggle under the covers and read before I ease into the day.
In so many ways, it's a Bella Grace day, at least the day's beginning. I savor this publication, the heft and texture of its pages a treat for anyone who adores paper. I get lost in the photography, studying it, gleaning ideas, simply enjoying.
Part of me wants to gulp it down in one go, but I'd lose so much. So, I settled in to enjoy the first piece, "Hello There, Friend," by Beth Lehman & Lindsay Crandall, two online friends.
A year ago, February, the two women decided to collaborate, writing each other a series of letters, always including a photograph. What I love, is that the letters focus on everyday moments, hopes, fears, and dreams. Both hoped to become more mindful, more present in their own lives.
I'll be rereading this piece, but I wanted to share a few lines by Lindsay:
"The ordinary is like meditation; it's like prayer. We say the same things and do the same things over and over again. Yet, each time we utter the prayer, each time we do the mundane task, it pulls us in a bit deeper if we let it...They are the beautiful, ordinary stuff of life."
Later, she writes: "I grab onto the quiet when I can, like a piece of driftwood floating by."
And, later yet, "Do the work that feeds your soul."
As I read the back and forth letters from these two women, I loved that each acknowledged the very real struggle it is to be mindful, acknowledging the mundane activities that fill our lives. They kept it real.
Keeping it real needs to happen more often; I struggle to stay mindful, even for a few minutes sometimes, let alone the day. I forget to be grateful, to be content, despite my ongoing work to do so.
Heading downstairs, I thought, ok, try again. Try again and again until it starts to work.
7:30 found me pulling out the ingredients for blueberry muffins, enjoying the textures and smells. Pulling out the "cookie bowl," one passed down by my mother, I began the process, making myself go slow, thinking about all the times my mom had used the bowl.
But, even trying to stay mindful, my mind wandered...the chipmunks outside the kitchen window are just too darn cute!
And, then, somehow, I focused on the mint growing, the mint that had escaped the pot last summer and rooted itself on the edges of the walkway.
Growing up, our yard was a delight...wild berries growing on the edges of the woods tasted like summer, and always, always, the smell of mint. Much to my dad's puzzlement, I headed for the mint every time I came home. Sometimes, finding it became difficult, since along the way, dad determined it to be a weed, and one to be cut back every chance he got. I always found some, though not always in the same spot. I think it became a game between the two of us.
Once, I popped the muffins into the oven, I grabbed some scissors and headed outside...two kinds of mint, some lemon balm, a tiny orange wildflower, and one of the first hydrangeas still opening up.
Back inside to arrange my treasures, crushing leaves as I went, taking time to inhale scents of lemon and mint. Heaven!
Then, spreading butter across the still warm muffins. Oh, yum.
And, now, it's time for the mundane - time to vacuum, clean bathrooms, and so on.
No matter. There's tomorrow morning and a new piece to be read.
Life is good, don't you think?
We just need to be open to its gifts, to ways to feed our souls, and to the many ways we can pray.
Tiny simple ways, tiny simple gifts packing an awful lot of power.