The first book I ever read in one day was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I am still enchanted by the idea from the book that our daily lives could have small windows into a different world. No, we can’t escape to Narnia through a freestanding closet door, but we can be reminded of joy, lightness, and beauty in small hidden moments in our days. I think the doors are there. And even if they’re not. . . it’s more fun to live as if they were. For example, I’ve been noticing the spring dandelions popping up. I know these are yard pests, but it was also a little burst of yellow where just two weeks ago all was brown and dry. We just cut our first bits of asparagus. Even with all these cold snaps in Nebraska, spring is here.
This Spring the “new thing” that’s popping up in my life is a desire to re-vamp the ole blog a bit. Some of you have been subscribed since 2013. . . or else you deleted those email accounts. #shrug. Either way, I feel like this space could use some spring cleaning. I don’t have the energy to write 30-day challenges anymore, but I do like writing, and I like having a place to share my thoughts. So, in that spirit, I’m launching the Gratitude Gram–a monthly newsletter that’s not a newsletter as much as it is me passing along some positives–a note filled with stuff that’s put a little pep in my step and been slice of Narnia in my life. So cheers to that, to the little bursts of yellow popping up, and to Gratitude Gram Issue #1!
April 22: Moments of Joy
A Writing Challenge (because I’m a writing teacher):
Find a piece of paper and draw an eyeball in the middle. Hint: can be made less creepy with eyelashes. Around the eye, make a list of things you’ve seen that sparked awe–that feeling that the world is beautiful, that all is well, and that I am but a tiny part of something larger. Here’s my eyeball list titled, “Moments of Joy.”
- A sunset from a canoe campsite, reflecting across the water making two sunsets.
- Lightning Bug Magic – When I was a church camp counselor, we hiked down into a valley at dusk and found ourselves among a twinkling array of bugs that stretched out in each direction. Junior high kids got quiet. Holy ground.
- My daughter rehearsed her play lines a bunch this last month–working hard to memorize them all by herself when nobody else was watching. Proud of her.
- Seeing my new baby Oliver, feeling like I recognized him somehow.
- My grandma Pearl’s hands. They always had long, filed-round, painted fingernails and were especially good at picking up cards and slicing fresh bread.
Some Reflection Questions (that someone shared with me) for a Saturday morning coffee in a cozy chair:
- When have you felt most at home in the last six months?
- What makes me feel the most at home/relaxed?
- Which friendships do I want to add extra energy to this month?
- What do I need to release to feel more at home?
- What in my home/personal space doesn’t match the way I want to be?
- What emotions do I need to let move through to get to a deeper calm?
This & That
- A reminder: “You have to put some energy into it” – Michelle Obama. This seems like a duh quote, but I needed reminding that day. I can’t expect things to work when I’m just stepping back and waiting.
- A book: The Runaway Bunny – An oldie, but a goodie. For Easter this year, I read it to the pre-schoolers (because I’m a writing teacher and a librarian). All eyes were glued to the pictures of the mother bunny searching out the young bunny again and again and again. Moral of the story is–home is always a good place to be, even when home is changing or the only place you feel at home is with someone else.
- Worth a listen: Oprah interview of Johann Hari. This two-part podcast got me thinking during bike rides this month. For parents, for teachers, for anyone really–his ideas of stolen focus, the changing nature of childhood, parenting with less fear, and brain downtime are some good brain candy for our time.
- Something that’s inspiring me: “A bike ride, and what’s on the other side.” Earlier this month, I felt down and out. Somehow, I got the spark of an idea to go on a bike ride. Little did I know that the bike ride I envisioned was on the other side of like five hurdles. Can’t find my gloves. My tire is flat. Can’t find my tire pump attachment thingy. I can’t get it attached! I can’t find my headband. Anyway. . . after somehow persevering, the ride on the other side was a respite my body and my mind needed. Plus, I didn’t know I’d listen to that podcast when I set out. Just this idea of “a bike ride & what’s on the other side” is inspiring me. If we can somehow muster the energy to push whatever it is up the mountain, sometimes we find ourselves riding it all the way down and around all these things we couldn’t plan for. So what’s the thing this month that might take seven hurdles, but it’d be worth it to push through? What might be waiting on the other side?
Cheers! If a friend sent you this email, you can sign up to get monthly emails here.
Evi (rhymes with Chevy)
Thanks for reading.