arrivals and departures

We finally saw Boyhood a few nights ago. Have you yet? The movie starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, the one filmed with the same cast over about a decade? It’s both award-winning and simple, a Texas boy’s coming of age story and a fairly typical modern family story, too, one shadowed by divorce, domestic abuse, blended families, and alcoholism. Whew, typing that synopsis pretty well sums up my take-away feeling from the movie. I honestly never want to see it again, haha. But one strand of beauty does run through the whole mess, and that’s what I’d love to share with you now.

About two-thirds of the way through the movie, when the two siblings are teenagers and spending time with their Dad (Ethan Hawke) and his wife and family, they all sit around at sunset singing a song with acoustic guitar accompaniment. They are drinking lemonade and just luxuriating in each other’s company. Apparently the song they are singing is one they all have written and rehearsed together, and it’s sweet and funny and sad.

The best lines of the whole movie are in that song. They lilt through snippets of good news and bad news and harmonize how in life arrivals and departures happen side by side. It reminds me of the late 90’s Live song Lightning Crashes. Remember it?

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door

Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes
The confusion that was hers
Belongs now to the baby down the hall

Oh, I feel it comin’ back again
Like a rollin’ thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from the centre of the Earth again
I can feel it

I love that song.

All of us experience this dichotomy throughout life, perhaps constantly if we pay enough attention. People die suddenly; estranged loved ones return to the fold. Friendships end; we meet new friends. Jobs change. We pack up and move. Animals come and go. The loves and losses are unending. Handsome and I have joked (often with maniacal laughter) that sometimes we feel whiplash from the good-news-bad-news dance. 

But to my thinking it can serve to keep us steady. I’m no longer so bothered by the balance of light and dark. This ebb and flow is natural, healthy, right. And trying to weigh the value of these sorrow-and-joy exchanges is is pretty pointless. I’m just grateful to be learning how to ride the waves and accept lessons along the way. Rail a little less against those things outside of my control. Embrace a little more the good when it swells up. 

eggs square plate

 

Maybe today, as the moon enters a new phase and our energy begins to build again, before a new work week begins, is a great time to take a deep breath. Remember that both love and loss are meant to be woven into the fabric of our days. We can’t have one without the other. That’s ok.

“You must let what happens happen.
Everything must be equal in your eyes,
good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.”
~Michael Ende,The Neverending Story
XOXOXOXO

where will you spend this early spring?

We sat in bed yesterday morning slurping our first cups of perfect coffee, braiding together our legs, and fighting off the bouncy and space-invading affection of our 95-pound puppy. Slowly I recalled the overnight thunderstorm (it was glorious!) and hoped that during chores at daybreak I would still be able to smell ozone and see damp flower beds and pastures. Handsome clicked on the morning news, and there he was. Puxatony Phil. The prognosticator of prognosticators. The groundhog of all groundhogs, hoisted up in all his fatness, ready to tell us what kind of weather to expect next.

Low and behold, as by now you surely know, Phil did not see his shadow and we are all set for an early spring. Or are we? No matter what Phil’s prediction, the news anchors are always quick to dismiss the folklore, citing that Groundhog Day is rarely accurate. So let’s compare Phil’s 2016 declaration to what the trusty almanac says. The farmers’ almanac, after all, is correct more than 80% of the time, and the science behind its construction each year is kind of mind-blowing. Here is what I see for our area over the next two months:

FEBRUARY 2016: temperature 50.5° (2° below avg. north, 3° above south); precipitation 1.5″ (avg. north, 1″ below south); Feb 1-3: Sunny, cool; Feb 4-10: Showers, then sunny, warm; Feb 11-13: Showers, warm; Feb 14-17: Rain to snow north; sunny, mild south; Feb 18-22: Showers; cool north, warm south; Feb 23-29: Snow north, rain south, then sunny, cool.

MARCH 2016: temperature 60° (1° below avg. north, 3° above south); precipitation 2″ (2″ below avg. north, 1″ above south); Mar 1-10: Sunny; cool, then warm; Mar 11-13: Rain, then sunny, cool; Mar 14-21: Sunny; cool, then warm north; warm south;Mar 22-24: Sunny; Mar 25-31: Sunny north, rainy south; cool.

That looks like an early spring to me, friends!! And if a chilly morning surprises us here and there, remember what Hemingway said…

even a false spring

 

Start surveying your life for the happiest places to spend springtime, okay? It’s so close.

See you soon.

“When spring came, even a false spring,
There were no problems except where to be happiest.”
~Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast
XOXOXOXO

 

 

late january reading update

Happy Saturday friends! I think this is a great week to pause and do some literary looking. The month of January was rife with excellent reading material, both digital and print, and I am happy to have made a small dent in my 2016 goal. A couple of these titles warrant their own full reviews, but for today, here are some nudges from me to you. Please share what you have been reading too. I love to hear all about that.

Books:

BIG MAGIC
by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book was lovely. I am letting it count toward one of my best-sellers reads of 2016, though I had sort of intended that to be best-selling fiction. Big Magic is sort of a creative’s manifesto. In it, Gilbert is encouraging, liberating, smart, sassy, and very much the feminine counter-balance to the more industrious guidance Stephen King offers in his creative memoir On Writing (my review of that is here). Gilbert really calls down the power of magic, after all. At least that’s how it struck me. And I loved it. Five of five stars, for what it is. Compared to her other books I have enjoyed (Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things) this one was not my favorite; but it did have the quality of sparking my writing-living-nest-feathering energy and of having offered a long conversation with the author. That was really nice.

One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, and then stand back to see if we can ever find them. ~Elizabeth Gilbert BIG MAGIC

This quote is perhaps my favorite takeaway theme from Big Magic. How tantalizing!

My Life on the Run
by Bart Yasso

I nibbled this book last autumn after meeting the author at the Spirit of Survival half-marathon in Lawton, Oklahoma. I enjoyed my chapter nibbles then and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it cover to cover this month, plus a few chapters multiple times. I will post a full review next week. For now, I offer you this little treasure, part of Bart explaining how a burro race operates and what are the differences between all the creatures:

Mules are the domesticated offspring of a female horse and a donkey, and a burro is a small donkey. A jackass is a wild donkey or someone who runs a race with a burro. ~Bart Yasso, My Life on the Run

The Shack
by William Paul Young

Oh, friends. I can barely make a passing mention of this book without really diving in. Please please please tune in for my second review soon. The first one was way back in August 2011, when my life was so very different. Reading this same book now, with five years of life changes, growth, and spiritual enrichment along for the ride, was a completely new experience! At least two of my friends are reading it for the second and third times, too, and I am looking forward to comparing notes. How wonderful. Apparently this is something I will need to own in hardback in order to refer to it many times in the future, as life continues to evolve.

I suppose that since most our hurts come through relationships, so will our healing, and that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside. ~William Paul Young, The Shack

Online Articles & Blog Posts:

Lifeingrace:

Edie is blogging again!! This makes me so happy. A few days ago she shared a beautiful, thoughtful piece on why we should still bother building a family library. My Mom would probably appreciate this as much as I do. Welcome back, Edie! We are all so excited for your book release!

Meta-Marriage: Ten Big Truths for Every Committed Couple

I  would genuinely appreciate this series even if its author was a faceless expert in some far-flung think tank I will never explore. But the fact that this very meaty and nourishing stuff is a gift to the world from my friend and local writer Kelly Roberts? Well, I shouldn’t have to tell you how happy that makes me. Red Dirt Kelly, as most of us locals know her, really knows her stuff. And her delivery is warm. Go check it out! This is perfect timing for Valentine’s Day, too!

Vitamin D in January?

Nutritional supplementation is often on my mind, especially since discovering how much better I feel taking the right Iron (three cheers for slow-release!). When local running celebrity Camille Heron shared this Competitor.com article about Vitamin D and its connection to athletic performance, I paid attention. I groove anything old-fashioned and not trendy that could help me feel better, work harder, and just live a fuller, richer life. Sunshine has always felt great, but reading a little science behind that was nice. PS- yesterday at the pharmacy, while grabbing an anti-inflammatory prescription for my stupid ankle, I refreshed my vitamin D supply. Thanks Camille!

Thanks for staying to chat, friends! Please let me know what you have found to read, whether online or in print. Let me know what YOU have written too! That would truly make my day.

Wishing you a deeply nourishing weekend. Talk soon.

I think of life as a good book.
The further you get into it,
the more it begins to make sense.
~Harold Kushner

XOXOXOXO

friday 5 at the farm: reasons sitting still is the best

Howdy from the couch. I am bed-ridden all weekend and under strict “limited mobility” orders all of the next week due to this annoying ankle injury.

Since it’s Friday, how about we enjoy a Friday 5 at the Farm? Let’s list the top five most awesome things about being forced to sit still when you have three million tons of energy and the entire weekend is about to be drenched in perfect, springlike weather. Ready? Okay.

  1. Uuum…
  2. Wait, no…
  3. ((crickets))
  4. yawn!
  5. (bangs head against wall behind her)

anyone

Well, this list is stupid.

Truly, on the bright side, I am looking forward to some face time with loved ones tomorrow, some extended hours reading excellent books, long cuddly movie nights, and also time to write and sew next week while Handsome is at the Commish. Not such a tragedy, I guess. Annoying. Not tragic.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Run while you can!
XOXOXOXO

 

gardening semester begins

Friends, I am so excited to announce the beginning of a brand new adventure here at the farm. I have the opportunity to do some very casual teaching, and because I am the luckiest girl alive, it’s a whole semester about gardening!! Probably the only everyday conversation I enjoy more than running, ha!

Our dear friends Brad & Meredith have trusted me with their teenaged daughter Maddie to learn as much as possible about plant sciences, and already she and I feel like a semester is just not enough. For a few weeks now we have been brainstorming, plotting, and planning all kinds of stuff. From edibles to herbs and wild, Tim-Burton-style flower gardens, ideas abound. (Maddie is a proficient make-up artist and loves the deep colors and high drama of this aesthetic. Think… Alice in Wonderland, translated to the Oklahoma landscape!)

daylilies gardening class sticker

 

Our current plan is to meet every Thursday for at least nine weeks, and in that time we have a long list of learning to accomplish plus quite a wish-list of projects to tackle.

Already in the first two Thursdays Maddie and I have dug up a soil sample from her prospective flower garden and delivered it for chemical evaluation at the County Extension office; we met her sweet gardening grandma for lunch and talked all about irises and much more then visited the Crystal Bridge in downtown OKC; and at home she has been tending a pot of mesclun seedlings (which she named David Bowie since they germinated right at his passing) as well as carrots growing in plastic soda bottles. Today we plotted her compost heap and discussed, among other wonderful things, plant folklore, Rose Rosette’s Disease, and the difference between annuals and perennials. It’s been a solid beginning, if perhaps slow compared to how busy we will be once the growing really starts.

maddie garden first 2 weeks

On a personal level, it’s been eye-opening to answer gardening questions here and there… Things that makes me pause to make sure I really know the answer and am not just guessing, and moments when I want to be encouraging of her ideas but also realistic. Sometimes we harbor little pockets of knowledge that feel automatic or are maybe difficult to articulate, you know? And you know how strongly I feel about positive thinking and belief. I would hate to dampen her enthusiasm on anything this early. The thing is, Oklahoma has her fair share of challenges. Maddie’s main gardening focus will be a curved flower bed on the south side of her family’s brick home, so she is about to find out how brutal Oklahoma growing can be, haha! Send her happy thoughts. : )

On an even deeper personal level, starting this little teaching adventure has been bittersweet because my own girls’ homeschooling has been so far removed from me. That’s a painful topic, but I can hardly overlook it. Sometimes life is circular in ways we could never predict.

Jeremiah 29: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, ad not of evil, to give you an expected end."

I will periodically share our learning-teaching-gardening adventure here and hope you’ll follow along. Maddie might even do a little writing of her own to share with you fine folks, beginning with a short story imitating Native American plant folklore. She really got hooked by that today. Thanks ahead of time for your encouragement and positive vibes!

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.
~Robert Brault
(and this is exactly where my throat tightens up so hard I can barely breathe.)
XOXOXOXO