A list of simple things here and there.
1. Simple food. It seems people either love rhubarb or hate it. I fall into the camp of love and have been especially enjoying simply rhubarb with maple. Mmm, so good.
1. Simple distraction. I’ve been a bit distracted these days, which is why I’ve been away for so long. Most of the distractions aren’t simple, nor necessarily fun, but no matter what life throws at me one of my favorite distractions is reading books. The most recent book I read was The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today’s America by Mark Sundeen. The author shares the stories of three families, who have radically departed from cultural norms to live with intent and authenticity. This Huffington Post article gives a good synopsis and interview with the author. I highly recommend the book – it’s given me a lot of food for thought.
1. Simple library. The home we’re moving to in a couple months is surrounded by wilderness. One of my intentions is to be a steward of the land. Taking the job seriously, I think it important to have a rich understanding of the native flora and fauna. One tool I’ll be using to deepen my knowledge of and connection to the natural surroundings is to establish a practice of nature journaling. In anticipation I’ve been reviewing library books on the subject to help me choose one to add to my library. My absolute favorite has been The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. I also enjoyed Keeping a Nature Journal, but one book will do.
1. Simple gratitude. My three-year-old communicates mostly with sign language and some spoken words. The other morning I handed him a banana and then turned my back to him to continue making breakfast. He yelled out, “mama…Mama….MAMA!” It took repetition and volume before I looked back to him. He wanted my attention not because he needed something, but because he wanted to tell me something. He simply signed the words “thank you” to show gratitude for the banana. Children have so much to teach us, if only we pay attention.
1. Simple winter books. How did I not know about Flannel Kisses (published in 1997)? I’m in love with the charming and sweet illustrations and simple rhyming text. Other favorite children’s winter books we’ve been reading include Red Sled, The Tomten, Owl Moon and The Snowy Day. Do you have any favorites?
1. Simple action. I’ve stopped all catalogs from coming to my home, but it never fails that new ones arrive on my doorstep each Christmas season. My work starts over in stopping the waste, the shopping temptations and the clutter that catalogs bring. I often call the company directly to have my contact information removed, but if you have a stack of catalogs, here in the United States an easy solution is to use Catalog Choice.
1. Simple hot cocoa. In a mug, make a paste of one to two tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it), one heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Top with steaming milk and stir to combine. Drink wearing your favorite flannel shirt (mine was a gift from a friend that I probably won’t take off all winter long).
1. Simple giving. A few years back, inspired by my friend Lisa who routinely gives blood, I started donating every few months. I think it was a pregnancy that put a halt to my giving. When I recently read of a blood drive close to my home, I jumped at the opportunity to start donating again. If you’re short on money or time, giving blood is a charitable offering that’s extremely valuable. The blood draw takes on average six to eight minutes and the whole process about an hour. Bonfils and the American Red Cross are a couple blood banks where you can give.
1. Practicing gratitude helps ease my anxiety, lifts my spirits, and focuses my attention on the beauty in this life. Sometimes I write down what I’m feeling grateful for, sometimes I verbalize what I’m noticing for others to hear, and sometimes I just quietly acknowledge my feelings to myself. However it’s expressed, it’s a profound but simple practice that I do daily.