Reflected

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Unfurling.

I brought some cosmos clippings indoors recently and, when the blooms began drooping, I prepared to toss them.  But then I noticed the buds (so many of them) on the stems.  They were wrapped in a nearly-transparent, waxy kind of flattened disc. How did I not notice this before?  Something about the waxiness, something about the flattened form caught my eye.  I was enthralled.  I called my daughter over to see.  Old news, apparently.  How did I not notice this before?

I plucked the dead blooms from the bunch and placed the stems with those incredible little buds into a small jar of fresh water.  I placed the jar on the kitchen window sill where I knew I’d have daily opportunities to look.  And I’ve been looking, trying to catch the forms opening little by little.

So the flattened discs (you can almost see one in the image above) puff a little and then the petals unfurl one by one.  And you know what?  That in-between stage…when it’s part puffed disc and part one-or-two-or-three petals poking through?  Well, it’s not really that pretty. Truthfully (no offense, dear cosmos) it’s a little awkward looking.

Eventually the disc shape is gone, the waxiness is gone, the awkward poking petals are gone, and there are petals standing tall.  They stand straight out from their center, tall and confident.  But they don’t stop there.  Once tall, they proceed to fall backwards, radiating outward from their center.  They relax into shape.  Still strong, still confident.  Now relaxed.

Lessons, once again, in the garden.  How did I not notice this?

Ah, but I did notice.  Just now.  I wasn’t ready to see before.  Wasn’t ready to witness the slow unfurling.  Wasn’t ready to catch the awkwardness.  Wasn’t ready to see myself reflected. Until just now.

Now I see.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

Ten Things

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Ten things, right now…

1.   Kathleen Edwards on Pandora
2.   Iced peppermint tea
3.   Tank top, cuffed jeans, bare feet
4.   Loose and relaxed muscles…I just did a little yoga
5.   Sunshine out the window…though we were expecting rain
6.   My daughter crunching on a Pink Lady apple
7.   Yellowing leaves on the birches out back (fall?  soonish?  yippee!)
8.   Contentment…today’s been good
9.   Papers on my desk…work in progress
10. Thinking about the dinner I’ll cook in a bit…cod, rice and beans

Hoping your right now is exactly what you need it to be.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

 

Stinkbugs and an Open Heart

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This beautiful sunflower burst into bloom, I swear, the day after I posted this.

So even though the stinkbugs are frequenting my garden and are destroying my tomatoes (yes, it’s true. From the Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities:  These critters feed on developing fruit by inserting their mouthpart into the fruit to feed. The symptoms are believed to be due to a toxin injected into the fruit when feeding.)  (Eew)…still, there’s this incredible bloom, and others.  Plus more that are close to popping.

And, while I’m lamenting the fact that I won’t be slow roasting any garden-harvested grape or plum tomatoes, I’m comforted, in part, by the sunflowers.  It’s like they popped just in time to cheer me.  The tomatoes are coming in and look fantastic from a distance…it’s upon closer examination that my heart sinks.

But then I look up.  I see the sunflower against the blue.  And I see the bee.  And I mark the moment. Part defeat, but mostly triumph.  It’s all an experiment…the garden, life.  There are no guarantees, anywhere on any day. There is just trial and error, and practice and process, and stinkbugs and tomatoes with white spots, and a keeping-open of the heart.

And, not to oversimplify things, but I really think there’s something to that keeping-open of one’s heart.  It doesn’t right all wrongs. In fact, it sometimes opens up worlds of heartache. But it’s something I can’t get away from.  I come back to this idea again and again. This is my practice.  To keep my heart open.  Even in the midst of toxin-inducing stinkbugs. (damn them) (in a kind and open heart sort of way)

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

:: Noticing the Moments ::

Taking some time to reflect upon my week…

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:: playing with my Polaroid camera…so hard not to get overly precious with the (expensive) film…but I did it (was not precious) and I burned through two packs, snap (played with digital too) (obviously)

:: I read this book (it was really good)

::  the stinkbugs are bothering my tomatoes (and me)…grrrrrr

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:: swimming with friends…enjoying the evidence of that happy afternoon

:: baking cookies…because just about every day is a good day for cookies

:: waiting on precarious news, and on the brink of worry (for a friend)…and then the happy release in knowing things are okay

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::  my daughter has been growing her hair out…our only stipulation was that she pull it back and keep it tidy in the meantime (this process has necessitated countless reminders) (sigh)…all of a sudden, she pulls it back (sans reminders) (happy dance)

:: blueberry peach cobbler for breakfast…for one…because

:: the first sunflower making her appearance…slowly (I’m waiting patiently)

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How was your week?  Tell me (pretty please).  I always love to hear…

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

A Mini Meadow

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Well, you knew there’d be more flowers around here, didn’t you?

The garden is a beautiful mess.  And I do mean mess.  It’s a tad thick but I can’t bear to thin anything out. Things are looking full and generally healthy (and generally beautiful) so I’m leaving the garden as is. I’m thinking of it as a mini meadow (very mini in size…but very meadow in feeling).  Next year, a little taming may be in order, but last year and this have been wonderful for loosening my ideas of what I think a garden is supposed to look like and be; I’ve allowed myself to play a little and decide what I want.

Flowers, for sure.  But maybe nothing else.  Perhaps my next step will be to grow a few tomato plants in containers on the back patio. Because I do love fresh tomatoes.  But something about having to go out to the garden to tend, to pull the weeds…gosh the weeds just about kill me.  I envy those of you who keep gardens.  In theory, it sounds awesome to me. But I just can’t swing it right now.  It stresses me out.  And who needs that?

But the flowers.  Ah, the flowers.  I get a little thrill every time I look out the kitchen window and see the pops of color. I’m behind on collecting tomatoes (must.get.out.there) (see how awesome it would be to step onto the back patio and pluck?) (and if you knew how many more steps it was from my patio to garden, you would laugh at me) (it’s not many). I’m still waiting for a jalapeno.  The onions are hidden in a bed of…something. But the cosmos.  The zinnia. The four o’clocks.  They satisfy.  They do not disappoint.  They are exactly what I want.

Sending a little love your way, m

Softness

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We took a long weekend and went to the beach.  And I assumed I’d be showing you a more beach-y picture.  But, really, this is one of my favorites.  I’m not one for boardwalks, but the beach to which we went isn’t too big and so its boardwalk (especially at the north end, where we were) is tame and fairly quiet.  You know, people out strolling and eating ice cream cones.

I think part of the reason I like this image so well (besides the soft blur of the lights) (because I love a good, soft blur) is that it reminds me of the evening I took it.  We’d returned from dinner (and ice cream cones) and my daughter asked if we could take a walk on the beach before bed.  Of course.

There were others walking on the beach in the fading light (but not too many).  We looked for shells and mostly walked in silence.  The four of us.  Together, but also slightly in our own worlds.  It was a beautiful night.

As we left the beach and crossed the boardwalk, my husband and kids walked ahead of me; I paused to make this shot. And so I suppose it marks something for me.  The end of a great beach day with my family, yes.  But it also marks the softness I felt that evening. The softness of the sand, the softness of the gentle waves breaking at my feet.  The softness felt for my husband and my quickly-growing kids.  Also, the softness felt for myself as I walked the beach that evening with thoughts rolling around my brain; the softness felt as I let those thoughts wash over me like the sea washing over my feet.

So this is the photo I want to share with you today.  The one that tells a story of softness.  And I know it’s easy to feel softness when walking along a beach in the gentle, fading light.  But if I can catch myself in the midst of the softness – if I can recall that feeling – maybe I can carry it with me through the rough and ragged parts too.  Yes, that’s the trick…to carry it, to keep it close.  I’m going to try.  You with me?

Sending a little love your way, m

 

*****
P.S. One last reminder about Jessica’s beautiful offering for the month of August…Summer Slowdown.  I think it’s going to be delicious and just right.  Click here for details.

 

 

Three Were Enough

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We stepped outside yesterday morning to visit the flowers.  My son was snuggled in bed reading so it was just she and I.  And the pup.  The air was heavy, humid.  The grass, freshly mown the day before, was wet with dew and clung to our flip-flopped feet.

I wanted to make photographs, but I took three and the lens fogged up (crazy humidity and darn it).  I immediately felt the urge to go back in the house and get to the next thing on my mental list, but my daughter suggested the swings. Okay, I said.  Though to urge to get to the next thing was so strong…the urge to do versus allowing myself simply to be. It was not quite 7:30. There was plenty of time for the laundry and grocery shopping and phone calls and other.

Thank goodness for my daughter who understands that there’s almost always time for swinging (she’s very wise). Thank goodness for the humid air fogging my lens (the three photographs were enough).  Thank goodness for little gifts like these on a July morning (they remind me of what I need to remember).

Sending a little love your way, m

 

***Before I leave, I want to let you know about a wonderful offering for the month of August.  My friend Jessica is crafting something beautiful, something that will invite us to slow down and savor the month of August.  It’s called Summer Slowdown and here, in Jessica’s words, is what it’s all about:

Summer Slowdown is free and open to everyone and will take place during the month of August, when we could all use a little reminder to slow down, reflect and really enjoy the final days of Summer. The way it works is everyday throughout the month of August participants will receive a daily email with short stories, reflections and quiet truths meant to help them slow down and come back to the present moment. Each day will feature a short meditative reflection from me followed by a practice or exercise from various contributors. And that’s all it would be – simple and easy with no outside pressure or expectations.

550Summer Slowdown 1-01You can read more about this offering (and sign up) by clicking here. And I’m pretty pleased to tell you that I’ll be sharing on one of these delicious slowdown August days.  I hope to see you there.  xo

Hello, Zinnias…and Hello, You

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Well, hello there.  I’ve missed you.  And this space.  Though the break has been good…some time to allow myself to carry on free of rules and expectations (that I set upon myself).  And, unlike my last post (which took me a while to allow), this post today has come spontaneously. I haven’t been thinking carefully about my return to this space, other than to consider waiting till the beginning of August, maybe September.  But just now…well, I feel like I want to be here, with you.  And so here I am.

I was out in the garden a bit ago.  I wrote last summer about allowing myself to play (and plant) freely in the garden. That’s what happened again this year.  There are a few tomato plants, jalapeno, basil, onions.  But mostly, you guessed it…flowers.  Planted willy nilly (I share about that approach here).  Just the other day, the zinnia appeared.  And then the cosmos. The sunflowers aren’t blooming, but their stalks are growing strong.  Things might need a little thinning. Or not.  For now, things are thick with growth.  Green, so green. And the pops of color have definitely arrived.  Which makes me happy.

And so, as I pop in to say hello, I hope there are things making you happy in your world too. Maybe, like me, you have flowers growing.  Or some zucchini.  Maybe there’s a delicious latte in your hands.  Maybe you’ve enjoyed the hug of a dear one.  Or maybe a stranger smiled at you as you sidled down the grocery store aisle.  I hope there’s something.

Yes, there must be.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

Finding a New Rhythm

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Last week’s post, well, you guys are awesome.  I knew you’d get it.  And now…

The post that is about to flow from my fingertips has been brewing-simmering-stewing for quite a while.  I’ve not written it prior to today because I was waiting to figure out a clear path and a clear way to express things.  But the clear path and the clear answers continue to elude me and, since this space is largely a reflection of here-and-nows, it seems fitting and honest that I just spit it out, lay it on the line.  You are here, in part I think, because you embrace the here and now; you appreciate the true, the real.  And so I come to you today with what is true.

I’m feeling a bit raw and worn.  I love this space, but, gosh, this blogging thing is hard work. Some of you write blogs yourself and know this…to post regular {and good} content requires time, energy, dedication.  I’ve been intent from day one to post regularly, because that’s how one builds community in this arena and so that’s what I did.  But when I started out, I didn’t necessarily want to be a blogger.  I just wanted to express myself creatively {because it makes me happy} and I wanted to share that expression.  And so I did.  And here we are.  And it’s been pretty awesome.

But lately, I’m feeling kind of drained and depleted.  It’s a complicated picture.  There is lots of inspiration and connection in the online creative community.  But there are children at my side {homeschooling} {and growing fast} and the paper birches out back {delighting me} and dust bunnies along the hallway baseboard {reappearing as soon as I vacuum}.  There are pages I want to write {e-courses, magazine articles, dare I say books}.  I’m feeling pulled in many directions and I know the pressure is self-imposed, but I need to save something for myself.

I think I need a little breather.  I need to know that I can keep this space quiet for a short time and return when I’m refreshed.  In my heart I know this.  I’ve just been scared to step away. Scared to lose my footing, scared to lose momentum, scared to lose those of you who visit in this space, scared to make a change.

This isn’t goodbye.  Goodness no!  But I feel like I want to give you a heads-up, so you’re not surprised should there be a little radio silence.  I think it’s going to get a little quiet over here.

I’m hoping, if you’re not signed up for my newsletter, that you’ll sign up now. Because there will certainly be monthly letters. If you don’t already receive my newsletter, I send them out at the beginning of the month and, really, they’re a friendly letter from me to you.  If I have an offering coming up, I share that. But mostly it’s a sweet little note. Nothing more, nothing less. {you can sign up for my newsletter right here}

I’ll be playing on Instagram.
You can follow my blog {if you’re not already} and be notified when I do post here.
And I’ll be posting on the twelfth of each month at Makings of Motherhood and every Friday at Tandem Echoes.

I know many of you are going to understand exactly where I’m coming from.  Balancing the online world {which is rich and full of inspiration} with the real-time world {which is rich and full of inspiration} is a delicate dance.  In my heart, I know it’s time for me to establish a new rhythm.  I still want to share word and image; I still want to share real and true.
I just need to slow my pace a bit.

I’ll be back.

Sending a little love {so much love} your way, m