take good care

Yesterday I let myself feel all the day long.

If it sounds easy, it was not. Grief. Worry. Loss. Some sort of nondescript longing which comes and goes as an aspect of aging. I felt wistful. Wary. Proud. Driving in my car, windows wide open and I too open wide, singing along with the radio, wind in my hair. Up one side of emotion, down the other. I felt it all.

Some days, it’s easier to pretend I don’t feel what I feel. To push feelings away or replace them altogether. Shopping as panacea. Scrolling as anesthesia. But I’m learning I can care for myself in these times of strong feeling. I can allow myself the good grace to be exactly who I am. And feel.

Sit here, right here, I speak to myself.

Go ahead, cry. You need no reason or because.

Feel free to feel. You are a living, breathing, feeling human. So honor you. Care for you. Tend to you.

And feel.

It’s a vulnerability I simply must allow myself.

Today, I am refreshed and ready. Hopeful and happy.

Take good care.

begin again

Begin again. And again, and again, and again. Begin again until I finish what I’ve started, until I feel what I wanted to feel, gain whatever it is I thought to gain. I’ll begin again until I’m — finally — who I’d hoped to be. Begin again as long as doing so matters to me. A promise I keep to myself. A belief in my own possibility.

A new beginning is its own kind of victory; its own small reward. There’s learning gained between the last start and today’s. I grant myself no guarantee, of course, but a new beginning is a new opportunity nonetheless. To learn what I’ve yet to learn.

Maybe after all of these beginnings, all the starts and stops, all the do-overs, I’ll discover that reaching a finish line was really never the purpose. All that learning. All that effort, enthusiasm. and growth along the way . . . in the end, perhaps that’s the whole point, really.

I’ll begin again because one step forward, no matter how tentative or tiny, is not standing still. All that moving forward counts toward the greater good of me, even if — maybe especially if — I take one step backwards.

Begin again. For the health of it. For the pride of it. The power of it. Begin again for the happiness and the hope of it. There’s hope to be found, after all, in any beginning.

Face to face in the mirror, I will cheer myself on. I will be patient with myself. I’ll be gentle, and loving, and kind. I’ll applaud my efforts. Forgive my missteps. I’ll show up for myself today.

And begin again.

slow

I will not hurry. No rushing around for me. I will not slave for function over form. I will keep my heart rate at resting, returning to my breath as often as necessary. At the end of today’s living, what I want to remember most is how I felt – – not what I accomplished. I want to whisper gratitudes into my pillow tonight with nary a complaint on my lips. I sometimes daydream about a day to myself, but truth is, each day comes with a demand or two. Much better to live a come what may day, especially since life has a way of working itself out one way or another without much intervention from me. With a little faith, some hope, and a sparkle of fairy dust, I’ll find my way from the top of the day to the bottom by allowing myself to simply BE. Imagine a day – – a slow day – – because I decide it so. Imagine.

collective nouns (of summer)

a snip of zinnias

a straggle of petunias

a cheer of sunflowers

a wonder of days

a sweat of nights

a hum of fans

a goosebump of air conditioning

a drip of cones

a slurp of popsicles

a sizzle of cookouts

an aura of fireflies

a glee of children

a boom of thunderstorms

an anticipation of farmers

a plethora of zucchini

a nest of tomatoes

a clutch of green beans

a delight of peaches

a fantasy of corn on the cob

a harvest of gratitude

notice

At the top of a morning, I notice the energy of possibility. Hope, wide awake and willing, greets the day face-forward. Counting on roadside petals, life loves me and I love it right back. How fairy-taled the deep green velvet of a moss-covered path. How gladly sunlight dances with daisies and trumpets daylilies. How fun to chick-a-dee-dee-dee with chickadees and honk with geese flying over the lake. How gently the fog lifts as the day warms. How delicate a thread of web stretches from flower to flower to flower, a tell-tale trail of one spider’s travels. I marvel at the intricacy of a gravel road, two miles into my day. And returning, notice now how I feel right this very minute, tip-tapping on keys. Happy.

one hopeful year

An unusual activity for me, but I did a little math this morning.

In one year, time passes accordingly:

  • 31,536,000 seconds
  • 525,600 minutes
  • 8.760 hours
  • 365 days
  • 52 weeks
  • 12 months
  • 4 seasons

From one season, month, day, hour, or minute to the next, there are so many opportunities to learn. To explore. Experiment. Create. Build. Design. Discover.

Imagine all there is to see, do, conceive, or dream up in the time it takes the earth to travel its 92.96 million mile orbit around the sun.

Think about all I can learn from new moon to full moon. From Fall to Winter and Winter to Spring. What new challenges can I meet from sun up to down? Who will I become from this one hopeful year of my life to the next?

Let’s find out!

Having just turned 60, I’m aiming for 60 new experiences. Recipes. Destinations. Classes. Books. New friendships, new challenges, and goals. New knowledge. Questions answered. Dreams fulfilled.

Maybe 60 is my once upon a time. My someday when. One thing’s sure and certain, it’s my next hopeful year.

As of today, it’s been 604,800 seconds, 10,080 minutes, 168 hours, and 7 days since my birthday, so it’s time to get started. I’ll share along the way … and feel free to offer suggestions and ideas for me to try.

New experience number one: Lemon Blueberry Scones.

sixty

Growing is growing – especially if it’s growing older.

Turning sixty wasn’t as bad as the anticipation of turning sixty. Or maybe now that it finally came and went – my biggest birthday ever, I mean – maybe being sixty is not as bad as the anticipation of being sixty. A mere flip of the page on the calendar. Sunday to Monday. July 10th to the 11th. Fifty-nine to sixty.

Still the same me.

All those years, one added to the next, equal a living sum of who I am right now. Shy. Curious. Loyal. Sensitive. Sometimes weepy or worried. Strong, but anxious. Always hopeful.

Devoted to love in just about any form I find it.

Six decades of learning.

I suppose I thought I’d be wiser in the whys of the world. After all this time. All of my experiences. Relationships. Mistakes. Do-overs and never-agains. After mothering and daughtering. Sistering. Friending. I was a teacher. Still a wife, full to the tippity-top with love for my husband. Role after role, day in and year out.

Turns out, what I know best – now – is me.

It sounds strange to say, “I like me.” But I do. And I guess it took adding up all of those years to be able to say those words and mean them.

Sixty and growing. A great gift, being sixty.

Even better than I anticipated.

summer mandala

circle in peace

compassion

and remembrance

circle in unity, in solidarity

hands and hearts

and hopes

circle in times of challenge

in sorrow, in grief

circle in faith, in belief

in the frailty of being human

circle in meditation, in prayer, in promise

in fear

and courage

circle in the divinity of morning’s soft light

or the deepening grace of evening

circle n celebration of summer

and sun and warmth and flowers

circle in peace

luxury

What a luxury to let dappled sunshine dry my hair this morning. Walking the rise of hills hurried my breath and released it again as those hills sloped back down. I crossed paths with a chipmunk and good morning-ed fellow walkers, all of us waving away the incessant deer flies.

Walking the dirt road today, I remembered other dirt roads, childhood roads, where I walked to school, never once thinking about anywhere other than right where I was. So I practiced that kind of presence today in honor of that girl I used to be.

Sweat bubbled on my nose and streaked across my forehead as I walked, only a hop, skip, and jump away from summer. There’s hope and happiness and freedom in summer, and I’m ever so happy to be out in it, grab ahold of it – deer flies and all.

I’m thankful for those who plant their gardens alongside the road for the pleasure and enjoyment of walkers-by like me. Roses climb a trellis while springtime pansies linger awhile longer under the mailbox. Chalk drawings in a driveway welcome summer as only a child just out of school can.

I want to remember this morning. Remember the breeze taking me by surprise and the glorious green surrounding me as I walk. There’s the swoop of a sparrow flying to rest on a fence post and the bounce of a robin across the neighbor’s front lawn.

Make no mistake – I saw that poison ivy spreading its way and growing alongside wild roses and the purple tufts of clover. So I’m reminded to admire not only the sunshine but the clouds too. I know rain sometimes ruins our plans and hopefully waters our plants – both. There’s the duality. Learning to savor the comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes, summers and winters. To spend these days wisely and aware.

Soon the sunflowers in the bed out back will stand taller than I do. Pumpkins will one day be ready to carve with our granddaughter. Summer’s car washes in the driveway will be replaced with new chores, with gathering, and nesting, layering and readying for rest.

But just for today, a warm breeze ruffles the ferns, tosses the buttercups, and distracts the bugs.

And I’m grateful.

on my mind

One way to keep track of what’s been on my mind … is to keep track of my Google searches. Through my recent history, I’m able to see what I’ve been curious about, what I’d like to try, where I need help, what I’m doing, and what I’m learning. It’s been a fun – and a bit distracting – exercise. Given the current state of almost everything and all that’s really been on my mind, a distraction is a welcome exercise in self-care.

So, in no particular order, some recent Google searches:

>>>He asked about my plans for my day off. I told him my most pressing plan was cleaning all the pollen coating just about every surface in our home. It was then he asked if I had any plans to bake a pie? He was joking, of course, but I love him, of course … so pie it was. Strawberry rhubarb. My first. It was worth the search. Recipe here. Full confession: I used a pre-made pie crust. Still delicious.

>>>We’ve been planting, so I wanted to know: What annual flowers attract pollinators?

>>>I’ve not quite recovered from my last visit to the cell phone store, but in a moment of bravery, I Googled: How do you change your Apple ID? I’ll probably get to it when I have more time and remember my current Apple ID.

>>>How old is Queen Elizabeth? Her majesty is a glorious 96 years old.

>>>What is the text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s The Other America speech? I’ve been reading the OTHER talk reckoning with OUR white privilege by Brendan Kiely which mentions the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Stanford University in 1967.

… while the law may not change the hearts of men, it can and it does change the habits of men.

You can read the speech here

>>>How do you line a baking pan with parchment paper? This little video uplifted my baking skill. And then some. A game-changer.

>>>Ever hopeful after yet another overzealous produce purchase … Can you freeze ripe bananas? Mercifully, yes … yes, I can.

Back to the pollen. Turns out, it’s better to clean a flat screen TV with a vinegar and water solution than Windex.

I’m hopeful we’re now past the pollen.

.