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Things I Love: March Edition
relearning how to live, read-alouds, book recommendations, tea and toast, music that builds a room around you
This has been a whirlwind month for me. For the first half of March, I was eating, breathing, and sleeping my newly published book. Even as we speak, the first copies, with my handwriting scribbled across the packages, are making their way through the postal system and into the mailboxes of my first readers. I am giddy. And maybe nervous??? And very hopeful that these words will bring hope and light.
For the second half of March, I have been relearning how to live in a family, how to homeschool with some ease, how to turn my attention back to the more mundane rituals and routine of home. This has been a pleasure.
I want to share a few things that are helping me back into the slow rhythm of life. These are things I am loving right now, big and small, in no particular order. Maybe you will find something here you will love, too.
Read Alouds! We spend 3 mornings a week at the table, and I have started the morning time with a read-aloud. Because I am usually behind on some chore or another, I’ve been leaving this to audiobooks. So the kids draw or sew while I wash dishes, and we share a story together. We use the free library apps Axis 360 and Libby to find most of our books. Last week we finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and this week, we have been absolutely loving Frindle by Andrew Clements. (This one is especially great for all ages. The little ones will hang around to hear it.)
Books I’m Reading (and Loving): I have been reading some of the works of C.S. Lewis that are new to me. Till We Have Faces, The Abolition of Man, and the one that has me gripped by the heart—The Weight of Glory, a short sermon that he preached about hope, longing, beauty and our desire not only to witness it, but to be caught up into it, to have it come into us. If you have 30 minutes, you should read it. I am also halfway through Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry and am so happy to be here. This kind of writing goes straight through me. Hooray for good books when you have (or can make) the time to grab them.
Tea, of course. My family gave me a subscription to my favorite Tea Shop for my birthday last December, and every month I get a new flavor in the mail. My very favorite flavors are the Buckingham Palace Garden Party (somewhere between English breakfast, Earl Grey, and a walk in the garden), and Vanilla Cinnamon Pear, which is a smooth, velvety decaf tea that is every bit as dessert-y and delicious as it sounds.
Music that chills me out. Is there anything that changes the atmosphere so completely as music? I can pop in headphones, turn on Yo-Yo Ma’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites and within seconds, I feel tension leaving my body. It is like music builds a room around you. A safe place where you can think and feel. Do you know what I mean? This album is my go-to for writing and thinking and has been for many years. I am learning that I am a creature of habit.
Chocolate Toast. Yes, I said it. I have been learning how to make gluten free everything for the last two years of living with the diagnosis of Hashimotos disease. I have still to make a perfectly wonderful loaf of sandwich bread, but I have hope that I will get there. I did make some better bread the other day (with milled sorghum and rice flours), and I sliced it into really thin slices, toasted it in the oven, added some chocolate chips until they were melted, spread it all around and sprinkled on some millet for crunch. It was an improvised biscotti, and very good with tea. This made me happy.
Irises! I thought that I had failed them because I didn’t separate the bulbs last fall, and last year only one bloomed. But there are so many buds on the verge of opening! Flowers that come back year after year are such a kindness of God. They are friendly. They make me feel more at home in the world.
Long Walks. On Monday, the older five kids and I took a mile-walk to the library, checked out a stack of books too tall to carry home (and left them for later), then walked downtown for fries at a local restaurant and watched the cars and people go by. It was a little thing, but in the days of spreading myself too thin, I realized how few experiences like this we have had. It is good to be with the babies. But it is good to leave them home with their Daddy sometimes, letting them watch a movie, while we are able to just walk and sit and talk and be.
What about you? What are some things you are loving right now? I’d love to know in the comments.
Sending love (and all the blooming Irises),
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2.5 minute Instagram Read-Aloud of a Passage from my new book. Stay with me till the end!