happy birthday times two

What a wonderful way to kick off a birthday. Our sweet friend, Rachel, invited a few friends over for dinner at her house on Saturday night. Rachel used to be a co-owner of Chacko’s restaurant in Shawnee. She is now a ketogenic dietician at Children’s Mercy Hospital, helping kids and their families adapt to their different dietary needs. Rachel was born in India – moving to the U.S. when she was 6 years old. Her parents are both in the U.S., now retired from the medical profession. Rachel’s home is warm and welcoming and filled with authentic Indian artifacts. (I say ‘authentic’ as in she didn’t get stuff from World Market like I do!)

Rachel celebrates her ‘vanilla’ friends! When she and I go out, we refer to them as our ‘swirl dates’. 😉

The evening started with Brenda’s delicious hummus – straight out of Rachel’s cookbook. It was so delicious I woke up the next morning thinking about it!

Joy demonstrated how ‘she made’ mulligatawney soup (or maybe she jumped in the picture after Rachel finished stirring!)

Scott telling a story…
Rachel laughing…
So typical of both of them! I love how similar they are.

Like story time at the library, we were rapt as Rachel told us about some of the relics her family sent her from demolished Indian temples in south India. Such beautiful treasures!

Scattered throughout her home are pieces of family history as well. Like this embroidered tablecloth from her great grandmother. Rachel’s mother cut the corners off the tablecloth to give to each great-grandchild, which Rachel then framed.

Dinner was amazing!!

(Except we had to have Rachel explain to us how to eat it!)

Menu:
Chole hummus
Mulligatawny soup with cabbage thoren,
and coconut chutney.

These ‘tortilla chips’ are called papadum and are made from smashed lentils then flash fried and are to be eaten crumbled on top of our basmati rice. I also learned there is a ‘th’ sound in ‘basmati’ that I’ve been pronouncing wrong all along.

There is a lot of coconut in Indian food and I love love love coconut!

Brenda and I have birthdays on the same day. Not only did Rachel gift us with a delicious Indian meal, she added beautifully selected gifts as well…

She gave me this amazingly beautiful top from India. I feel so very honored.

Many of us around the table have been studying the Enneagram personality types. We went straight to work trying to figure out what number Scott is. He had everyone stumped until they narrowed it down to an 8 (for those familiar with the enneagram.) We had a 9, a 4, a 2, a 5 and another 8. Whatever that number combination means, I just know it meant a whole lot of laughing and talking over each other and Helper Brenda refilling everyone’s water!

What a truly enjoyable evening!

There is something re-centering about the cleansing embrace of warm friendship, delicious food and laugh out loud conversation. It was the perfect way to round out my 51st trip around the sun.

sail on 

I remember a particular time period when I was in junior high that my parents were trying to make a difficult decision for our family. They were involved in a larger conflict that was tearing apart a group of people for which they cared a great deal. The question really became whether they were to stay in the situation and ‘fight it out’, or whether it was the right time to step out and away from the conflict altogether. It consumed many months of consideration and prayer. I remember hearing Mom discussing it with close friends and family on the phone, so it made an impact on my world. Then one day, in the midst of all the unanswered questions, Mom read a quote that deeply affected her thinking. She shared it with our family of four, with her sisters on the phone, and with friends within the conflict. The quote read: “We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” Mom felt this was a strong signal as to what direction we should take. It resonated with my parents in the kind of impactful way that involved many discussions and is still readily accessible to me, these many years later. In fact, if asked what quotation I would most associate with my mother, I would probably name this particular quote.

I was busy around my house on Wednesday morning and had forgotten I’d turned the sound off on my cellphone the previous night when flitting around the internet while Scott slept peacefully next to me. I didn’t want any beeps or videos to pop up and wake him. As a result, I missed a few texts and phonecalls before I noticed the volume was off. I sat down to send a text and noticed my mother-in-law had left me a voicemail.

It will always be an intriguing query for me to wonder how my mother and my mother-in-law would get along. Their lives missed each other by a few months. If I were to actually sit down and calculate it, it was probably more like a few weeks. My mother died, a victim of Alzheimer’s, just as I was meeting my future mother-in-law, Joanne. Mom was 5’3″. Joanne is 6’2″. But both women were, and are, strong, independent women. I think they would understand many things about each other…but I can only guesstimate at this point since their meeting was never to be.

I clicked the voicemail button on my phone and Joanne’s strong and upbeat voice message greeted me: “Hey!, I forgot to tell you something. When we were in Arkansas last weekend I saw a quote you might be able to do something with. You’ve probably already heard it, but I really liked it.” I listened…Joanne often sends me clever phrases knowing I would probably like handlettering them onto something. The voicemail continued. “It went like this: ‘We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust our sails.’ It might be cute with a sailboat or something. Okay!, talk to you later.”  And the phone went silent.

It is difficult to articulate the wash of emotion that spontaneously swept over me. I am not an instantaneous crier. But the emotion caught in my throat and immediately turned to tears. However, not tears of sadness or remorse in any way. I explained to Scott later that night that it felt like a cosmic collision of two women who represent mom figures in my life. Two women who never met but whose words were now the same. The same meaningful empact from this quote of perseverance and perspective. Words gifted to me from two mothers, 40 years apart.

I am not a watercolor artist. I am a watercolor admirer. Yet the desire to pour those thoughts and emotions onto the page led me to some watercolor ‘messing around’ this morning.

There are just some things in life that cannot be changed. They are deadlocked and irreversible for the time being or for all eternity. It is a waste of energy to spend time fretting or foolishly digging our heels in for change – it simply will not happen. But what we are capable of doing is changing our course of direction. Or sometimes, merely our perspective.

We cannot change the wind. But we can adjust our sails.

I have it on good authority that this short piece of advice can be life-altering.

In my life, however, it has been doubly Mom Approved…

hygge 52

It’s my birthday this week. I feel like I probably used the phrase, “Someday when I’m 52…” at some point in my early adult life. I am sure in referring to ’52’ I was denoting an old age. But just like every other 52-year-old who has ever stood in this number, it feels young and lucky and yes, confusing at times. But overall, there is a welcome sense of settlement that comes with your 50’s.

At the strike of midnight on December 31, people make resolutions for a better life. A little less this, a little more that. All worthy aspirations. I have the same thoughts each year as my birthday approaches. What will this year look like? What will change? What will stay the same? And as the past few years have included: Will there be a hospital visit this year? -yikes and fingers crossed for NO!

But this year as I have mulled over the additions or subtractions I want to make, my mind keeps snapping back to one thought: What if right now is enough? 

In 2004 I had a close friend who shared a very similar mindset as me. We had teenagers at home and life was busy and complicated. But we happened upon a blog by Alex Beuchamp called Hygge House. The word ‘hygge’ has become very popular lately. I’m not sure what took it so long to catch on, but like all pendulum swings, it was bound to have its time in the sun. But in 2004, few people had heard of the word. RuAnn and I used it often, referring to quiet, simple moments of joy in our respective days.

Hygge as described in Alex’s blog…(the words RuAnn and I fell in lifelong love with):

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Hygge doesn’t require buying anything. It simply requires being present and recognizing a moment that feels so sweet, cozy, charming, special or nice that you just have to name the moment.

So whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it every morning, to a cozy evening in with friends where you’re just enjoying each others company, to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.

Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as coziness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness and the undefinable feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.

By creating simple rituals without effort {such as brewing real tea with a little china cup every evening to stopping at the flower shop every week} the Danes see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not drudgery to get away from. They incorporate hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension rather than a forced and stressful event.

Hygge is about being present enough to recognize and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary.

‘Hygge’, ‘minimalism’ and ‘wabi sabi’ are three words that seem to be defining my new year with greater clarity. I have embraced these words in the past, but this year feels different. (wabi-sabi: represents a Japanese aesthetic described as one of beauty that is imperfect.)

I laugh – and understand – at my husband’s balking at the word ‘minimalism’. When I suggest a book or movie that has minimalism at its core he says the same thing: “But they are always so preachy about it.” 🙂 And I get that. I have weighed that view when thinking about this blog post. But let me make one thing super super (…or as President Trump would say, “very, very”…) clear: As I embrace this idea for myself, it does not mean I believe everyone should accept it as their aim in life. It also doesn’t mean ‘never make a purchase again’ or ‘live on bare necessities’. What is important to me is the idea of being aware of the beauty that is already around me.

Let me give you an example: I am a big fan of Instagram. (like, BIG, big!) The limitless inspiration on Instagram is invigorating and challenging. And I am someone who thrives on ideas and inspiration. Pinterest is another method of gaining ideas. (Erin Loechner, in her book Chasing Slow, says Pinterest is creating a generation of ‘someday’ thinking, not ‘now’ thinking.) But as much as I love Instagram, occasionally I find myself slipping from ‘inspiration’ into ‘I want that’. You know who taught me this lesson best? Rae Dunn. For those of you not familiar with Rae Dunn, her pottery is unique and specific. Her mugs and kitchenware have big words etched into them.

As someone who appreciates fonts and lettering, I really liked her stuff. But here’s the thing: Rae Dunn has become a phenomenon. TJ Maxx and Home Goods can’t keep her stuff in stock. Partly became it’s popular and people rush the stores to buy more for their collections, but mostly because some people are buying absolutely everything in the stores and selling them for TRIPLE the price online. Scott recently said, “Rae Dunn has become the Beanie Babies of the 80’s.” And he’s right! I posted the above picture and put out the word to my friends to be on the look-out for Rae Dunn when they were shopping. I had people in other areas of the country shopping for me. With each new post on Instagram of someone buying a new Rae Dunn piece, my want grew bigger.

And then one day, I stepped out of the commotion. The craze for Rae Dunn was running me, not me managing it. I was suddenly content with what I have. If I run into a piece that speaks to me, I will still purchase it. But visiting our local TJ Maxx every other day is just a ridiculous way for me to live.

As I type out that example, it seems rather inadequate in explaining my approach to 52. Just to say, Instagram can be used for stimulating inspiration and is an excellent method of gaining new ideas and perspectives. It is also a great space for gaining new friends. But it can also feed an insatiable desire for more. For different. For change.

I love chai tea lattes. The days when they seem to be spicer than usual, are the best. The warm first drink of chai opens up my senses and kick starts my day. Sharing a chai with my fellow chai-loving friend, Monica, makes the drink even more special. If we’re drinking the chai in Rae Dunn mugs – great! But it’s the company that matters. It’s the quiet moments when I’m waking up to the beginning of the day – that’s what is important. It is a daunting observation to think that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, yet it was their desire for more that led to their loss of everything.

I am tweaking my Instagram just a bit to celebrate and document small pleasures. The description under my name now reads…

hygge: the art of creating a life filled with simple pleasures and loving what you already have.

That describes my thoughts and wishes for 52. Enjoying adventures. Being present with friends and family. Resting in quiet moments. Making life less about accumulation of things for the sake of accumulation, but cultivating items of importance and meaning. Sometimes that will be a new mug. Sometimes that will be a free visit to the museum. Sure, there are things I would like to do more of and things I would like to do less of. But for 52, I’m okay with imperfect wabi-sabi. Peaceful hygge. Morning walks. Spicy chai and long afternoon shadows. Looking around and being content with what is.

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. – G. K. Chesterton

I don’t know where 52 will take me. But I am sure, 52 is going to be just fine.

Continuing to learn,
Hygge G

she’s got good bones

Trees get too much credit in the spring and summer. We applaud their grand show in the fall. But there is something magical and majestic about their winter bones. In winter we can see discarded birds nests, inhabitants moved on to larger spaces. In winter we can look through groves of trees and see beyond the limits of summer’s thick foliage.

A friend of mine recently mentioned to me how beautiful Melania Trump is. I agreed but instantly became defensive. “Do you know how much better I would look if I had unlimited resources?!” Even a sow’s ear (referring to myself, of course. Not our first lady) can be lovely with enough surgery and make-up. A little addition here. A little subtraction there. I suppose that’s how I feel about the trees in winter. We see straight through to their souls. There is no hiding in winter. Everything is laid bare and open. And yet they stand there bravely. Unashamed. Still protecting. Still holding their place.

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
– Charles G. Stater

It was within their protection and solace that Scott and I blissfully spent our weekend. While Scott’s parents were out of town, we jumped at the chance to get away from the never-ending tasks of home and spend a few days in the country.

Within the trees there were turkeys feeding in the early morning air, opossums sneaking stealthfully in the night’s darkness and a few birds feeding busily on the suet and birdseed Joanne faithfully provides…

Within the trees there is always work to be done. Larry and Joanne do so much work around their home and land. It is an ongoing task. When Scott and I get to spend some time out there, we like to help out just a little. This weekend we removed broken branches from trees and hauled large fallen logs out from thick brush. Your sense of accomplishment is redefined a bit when in the country. Things like a large burn pile make you sit back and smile!

When simply tugging on the broken branch didn’t work, a very brilliant mind (…I am TOTALLY taking credit for this one!…) suggested tying it up to the ATV and pulling it out. After a few tugs and pulls, it came crashing down. Success! (I’m very very good at ideas. Really. Very high ratings!)

Scott on the tractor, me on the ATV, we gathered large branches and limbs from wherever we could find them.

A burn pile to be proud of! We left this for Larry to tackle and especially because there is a burn order in place for our part of the country. Everything is SO dry!

With sore muscles and scraped skin we joked as we fell asleep Friday night: “We always come out here to relax and end up working harder than ever. And it feels sooooo good!”

Within the trees, there is fishing to be done! It’s early in the year, but Scott threw out a few fishing lines just for fun. He actually had quite a few catches – but threw them all back in. He also had fun doing some target practice. I feel like the trees are happiest when they can stand tall over people having fun and relaxing in their own unique ways.

(Scott is an excellent shot!)

Within the trees are wood projects to be done. I made some plant holders, cake stands, keychains, wall hangings and Christmas ornaments from the fallen trees around the property. I even used one of Larry’s whittling tools (…please don’t tell him!…) and instantly fell in love with the feel of the bark skimming off the branch. As a lifelong ‘picker-of-things’, it was fun to pick at something for hobby! (Pictures of finished projects coming later.)

My father-in-law has been using the fallen trees for years as an award-winning whittler.

Within the trees are sacred places of beloved pets. Sweet sweet Gypsy will forever be present when we visit Lone Jack. She grabbed my heart early and will forever be loved by so many of us…

The roots of the trees run deep. They’ve weathered storms and drought. They’ve endured my mowing a little too close to their foundations. They protect birds from predators and discard branches too weak to endure.

And sometimes, they smile mischievously…

Within the trees are gardens to be planned, cars to be washed, adventures to be had.

Plant less kale. Not so many snow peas. Try cut flowers and different types of peppers. In the above picture are Joanne’s famous blackberry vines that she sells to pie-making customers, year after year.

The many shades of green, the brilliant orange, yellow and reds of fall…trees can be show off-y and grand. But the trees of winter are vulnerable and authentic. There are no secrets held within the trees of winter. Soon they will be thick with foliage. But for now, they allow miles of vision and inspire hopeful dreams of the future.

A brief stay in the country is enough to energize us and fill up our souls. (When you live in an apartment or a close neighborhood, the joys of sitting out on your back porch in your pajamas, sipping on a cup of coffee with no one around, is pure heaven!)  The air was brisk and fresh. Our lungs are full, our goals are clear, our minds are at rest and our hearts are peacefully happy.

Thank you, stoic trees of winter. Within and through and over and around, we played gently in your stalwart protection and generous excess.

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
– William Carlos Williams

And soon it will be spring…

 

the thinking room

You guys, I will actually say to Scott: “I need to talk to you about [ insert random subject ] but we need to go to the Thinking Room to discuss it.” And off we’ll go. -ha!

This is just a small bedroom that we overhauled into a very zen-like, technology-free room. One wall is black with gold polka dots. The other walls and the ceiling are all a dark, smoky gray. And I am in love with it! Let me take you on a tour of our little zen thinking room – but let me warn you, it is more-is-more-is-even-more decor! Lots of layers and textures and patterns and as always, plants for that good air quality cleaning factor.

Barely visible, in the corner is my new string-of-pearls plant that I named Fiona after the cutie pie girl named Fiona who was working at the register when we checked out at Heartland Garden Center. I have a cream-colored macrame’ hanging plant holder on order for her.

This is where I am most every morning. Reading. Devotions. Day planning. Praying. Meditating. The sun is warm as I slowly and intentionally wake up to the day.

Daybed turned sitting area…

Zen-like, right? This Buddha head sits on top of my mother’s devotional books. There is a church bulletin stuck in the top book that I just don’t have the nerve to remove it and throw it away, even though it sticks out all herky-jerky like. According to the date on the bulletin, it might be one of the last ones she remembers using. So it stays in there, holding the place of an important passage she was reading in her favorite devotional book. It means a lot to me to have it in the room with me when I’m chatting with the God that directed her entire life.

Mixed textures and patterns make my heart soar. So does this fabulous shag carpet. We bought one for our living room and loved it so much we went back for a second one for this room. We aren’t the only ones who loving laying on it and squishing it under our feet. 😉

I posted this string of beads on my Instagram a while back. A wonderful thrifter friend in California sent it to me. She found some beaded carseat covers (you know the kind?) She unraveled all the beads and made tons of beaded strands with it. So clever! It fits nicely in this corner with a thrifted throw rug I found recently.

I love this rattan hinged-top box I also found while thrifting. It’s not in perfect condition, but it works perfectly for holding up plants and goodies in this room.

Another recent find was this cedar adjustable shoe tree. I loved its wooden element in this room.

My new prickly cactus named Trump…….. [insert inferences here]

My daughter won’t let me buy Boston ferns anymore. I kill them every time. I consider myself fairly adept at plant keeping. But Boston ferns and I just never mesh. On the other side, my husband de.TESTS asparagus ferns. Personally I love asparagus ferns and grow them easily and large! However, every time he goes to move it for me, they are prickly little suckers and can really hurt. So HE has forbidden me to buy asparagus ferns. Sooooooo…I’m claiming there is a loophole in all that fern forbiddenness and purchased this delicate Fluffy Ruffle fern. We’ll see how well she likes me. I suppose I should name her so she feels at home. But I’m reserving my love for her for now. (Hardened Plant Mama!)

This beautiful walnut salad bowl makes the perfect plant holder. My son and his wife gave me this adorable mushroom pitcher a few years ago for Mother’s Day. It fits so perfectly in this 70’s-vibe room!

Finding pottery makes me do a little mental happy dance right in the middle of a thrift store. Tucked in here and there are a few disco balls that were sold as Christmas ornaments this year. Disco magic is a year-long goal around our house though!!

I have already used this aloe vera plant a few times since we’ve had it. I must admit, aloe vera plants both make me intrigued and a little grossed out all at the same time! 🙂

Waiting for me in one corner is my painting easel. For now it holds a cross-stitched bee that needs to be framed, a friendly reminder to take it easy and be a nice human – and my rather sadly discarded MY HONEYSUCKLE DREAMS store sign.

This Anthropologie lamp shade hangs from the ceiling watching over my hanging vintage postcards and a prism my parents gave me a few years ago. When the light catches it in the morning, we have rainbow prisms everywhere!

My mother-in-law gave me this discarded frame. I wrapped it tightly with string and now use it to tuck in airplants, love notes and favored Kansas City business cards. It’s a quick use of old frames and makes a great bulletin board.

Kate, from Salvage Dior, sent me this sweet note in her package of bead strands. Again, another reminder that it isn’t that hard to simply do good for people, be nice, and love unconditionally.

I have had my eye on a few different kinds of wooden hanging thingamajigys from the 70’s. But I have to tell you, people. This particular decorative piece is not for the OCD faint of heart! Ugh. I mess with it constantly (definitely messing with my “zen-like” spirit in this room!!!)

This White Bird of Paradise plant is new to me. I’m hoping this room is bright enough for it. Otherwise, it will have to be relocated to the Sun Room. Anyone with advice for me? It brings a nice tropical vibe to this room! I named him Marty Feldman. There is a little bit of reasoning behind the name. In one of our faaaaaavorite movies, Young Frankenstein, Marty Feldman plays Igor. (Hold on to that thought a second, I’ll be back to it…)

Haddie is a Shag Hag. She kneads and kneads at the carpet and loves lounging on it like the goddess she believes herself to be!

Marty Feldman. Igor. The below book, Urban Jungle, is the basis for our Thinking Room. This book is filled with so much inspiration and lots of great plant information! The authors, Igor and Judith, are the authors of the Urban Jungle Bloggers blog and this is their first book – which is a well-deserved bestseller. I highly recommend it!

So do you see the connection now? Marty Feldman is paying homage to the Urban Jungle authors. Thank you, Igor and Judith, for putting such informational inspiration out in the world!

I still have some plans for the room. Like a wall hanging that I will use as a cafe curtain on the windows, for instance. For the most part, we are finished and ready to do some deep thinking and (more accurately) some hard laughing together in our dark and moody, zen and crazy, plant-naming, pattern-playing Thinking Room.

Thanks for taking the tour! Do you have advice for me? What do you think? I’d love to hear! For any of you small-house or apartment-dwelling people out there, little spaces of oasis are completely possible! This room was completed with some paint, a lot of thrifted goodies, and when you don’t know what else to do to decorate – always choose plants! Make you home yours – no matter where you live.

Big kisses,

Marty Feldman, Trump, Fiona, Haddie, Scott, g + friends 🙂

big girl camera

I am trying to make a concerted effort to bring my big camera out more often this year. It has been sorely discarded for the past few years since grabbing my iPhone was so much easier. But I miss the quality and challenge of a DSLR.

Scott and I love our local greenhouse, Heartland Nursery and Garden Center. I needed to pick up some cactus soil for my new succulents so I grabbed my Big Girl Camera and took a few pictures during our visit. It was early. The employees were busy readying the greenhouse for Spring. They were mixing huge piles of dirt with fertilizer and lining up new plants for sale. The plants seemed to feel the extra love and care this particular morning…

 

qwerty schmerty

The QWERTY keyboard was created in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes. I wonder if Sholes had any idea the extinct to which his keyboard would be used?!

I can’t think of the last time I used a dictionary or an encyclopedia – and I look up words a LOT. But good ol’ Google or Dictionary.com help me find just about anything I want. Connecting with friends is so much easier – especially when it’s in the wee hours of the morning and I can’t sleep but thought of something I wanted to tell them. To the keyboard I go!

And yes, occasionally, keyboards are used for the wrong reasons. Searching for videos about mass explosions or simply typing something that hurt someone’s feelings. It seems I fall into the latter lately…

I stepped in it. Boy that’s a phrase I use way too often. I know my intentions were good. But I am sure they came across as bossy…again, my ever-present problem. I tried to encourage and I royally pissed off instead. The response was waaaaaaay out of sync with the original message. It was mad and accusatory and I didn’t like it one bit. I felt it best to not respond with explanations but rather to wish the person well, which I truly feel for them. Now I am just left with the yucky feeling of a relationship that got all twisty and misunderstood.

These are the moments when I envy the life of hermits like J.D. Salinger. I understand their need to withdraw; people can be so very confusing at times. The older I get, the more I am surprised at my desire to not fight back. I don’t worry as much that people think I am retreating in defeat. I know what my heart is, they don’t have to understand. But the ‘yuckiness’, post-misunderstanding, is like wading through muck in high boots. And not cute yellow Hunter boots. Big, clunky, camouflage boots that are hard to manipulate in the mud but keep you nicely hidden from the world.

Maybe it’s the back-to-back dreary days. Maybe it’s the new books I received in the mail yesterday. It just feels like a Day of Retreat. But here is another thing that has been a welcome friend as I grow older: the understanding that other people’s responses to things are in great part due to things happening in their lives and not necessarily about you at all. I think that is true in this case to a great extent. There are parts of the disagreement that I need to claim responsibility for. I should have kept out. (…again, an all-too-familiar phrase in my life…) but I stepped in out of concern for the other person. Clearly, I stepped in clumsily, but my heart meant to do good.

Am I using you for a sounding board? yes; I am sorry. But I hope you will find a nugget of encouragement somewhere in this post that we all get into quirky qwerty situations from time to time. It’s not just you. It’s not just me. And sometimes, it is best to take a step back and get out of the fray. Will they misunderstand your response? Maybe. Is it worth it to fight it until the bitter end? Rarely. Knowing when to say you’re sorry and step aside has been a lifelong lesson that I am still learning. Sometimes, lifting your fingers from the keyboard and picking up a good book is the right course of action.

A phrase I am hearing a lot lately is: “There’s so much negativity on instagram.” Truth is, there is so much negativity present in the world right now. Online fights and arguments and tweets. And if we don’t learn how to sift our way through the minefields of opinions without getting any schmuck on ourselves, then we are in for a long four years ahead. The Trickle Down Effect has never been so evident.

But two new books from Amazon and a cat that found her way into the KFC chicken at the bottom of the trashcan last night – well, they don’t talk back much. So I think I’ll curl up with both of them today and ‘J.D. Salinger’ it a bit.

Qwerty Schmerty. Tomorrow is another day………