Spring or Fall?

Are you a Spring person or a Fall person? I have to say I’m both – or rather, I’m drawn most to whichever season we’re closest to in a given moment. In the winter I look forward to the warmth and color of spring and in the spring I love every second. By summer, I’m looking forward to cozying down for fall and by fall, you guessed it, I’m in love with every brown blade of grass and leaf that falls. I like to think our acclimation toward one season or another goes slightly deeper than temperature preferences…

If you are especially drawn to Spring, you likely love fresh starts, new beginnings, bright pops of color. This is a time to reach outward, expand, leap forward:

  • Get back outside after the long cold winter – go for a walk, make note of bulbs blooming and trees flowering in your neighborhood.
  • Take a walk around your yard and do some daydreaming about things to plant or prettify, browse seed & plant catalogs or go to the garden center.
  • Inside the house, throw open your windows, strip the beds, dust down the cobwebs, clean out expired stuff in your pantry and freezer.
  • Go to the car wash and spit-shine your ride, inside and out.
  • Revitalize your menu plans – lighten things up with salads, fish and all-things-grilled. By the end of March or early April, fresh veggies should start to appear at the Farmer’s Market.
  • This is a great time for personal fresh starts – get a new notebook and a set of colorful pens, then take time to brainstorm ideas, sow some new seeds, reimagine yourself or something in your life.
  • Buy new makeup and a few bright springy things for your wardrobe.
  • Change the battery on your smoke detector.

If Fall is more to your liking, you might really love to snuggle down, get cozy, review your accomplishments. This is a great time to turn inward, self-reflect and take pride in all you’ve accomplished:

  • Fall is my favorite time to get comfortable in the kitchen with stews and hearty soups, creamy casseroles and baked goods.
  • It’s the time to pull out heavy socks, sweaters, knit scarves and cozy blankets.
  • After the heat of the summer, it’s another great time to get outside – go for walks in the woods, clean out flower beds, mulch for winter, and plant trees. It’s also a fun time to be a magpie – I find lots of feathers, dried seed pods and other interesting pretties for my altar this time of year.
  • It’s the perfect time for big cleaning projects inside my home – cleaning out closets (if it hasn’t been worn in over a year, let it go); get the windows, rugs, and carpets cleaned; clean out the junk drawers and garage.
  • Start thinking about holiday gifting – organize a family name drawing and get as much of a head start as you can before things get crazy!
  • Go on a road trip to see the fall color – take back roads so you can go slow, stop off at roadside stands or shops in small towns, savor every moment.
  • This is my favorite time of year for candles – pumpkin, cinnamon, patchouli. My favorites are Magnolia Market’s Joie de Noel (only available in the fall) and Scentsational’s Rugged Patchouli.
  • This is another great time for a new notebook. Take some time to review your year  – what do you feel fantastic about, what would you add or do differently, what do you wish you’d skipped altogether?

Whichever season you are most drawn to, make time to honor its particular magic.

Extraordinary Ordinary

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary. — Hans Christian Anderson

Isn’t this true?! I look at my life sometimes and wonder what the point is – nothing I do goes outside the boundaries of ordinary. We live in a world where people are doing such extraordinary things – my life pales in comparison! Here’s another quote I keep in my back pocket…

Comparison is the thief of joy. — Theodore Roosevelt

When I got the bug to start this new blog, I kept running up against my ‘ordinary’ wall.  “Who cares about my ordinary life – what can I possibly write about?” You know, the original purpose of blogs (weblogs) was simply to be a sort of “captain’s log” review of the noteworthy events in our everyday lives – a plain old ‘ordinary’ diary. Somewhere along the way, they became much more than that – award-worthy photography, ad space, earning potential, digital product sales, search engine optimization, and a HUGE point of comparison!!! I tell myself I’m writing this blog for myself, but then I catch myself wondering “who will care” – in other words, do I have the chutzpah to attract readers? I sometimes suspect my purpose in life may very well be to get over myself!

Bottom line, there are some extraordinary people, women in particular, out there doing some pretty extraordinary things… here are just a few. There is also a lot to be said for the extraordinary ordinary things we’re doing and experiencing in our everyday lives:

  • We have amazing health options that tend to appear ordinary to us these days. In 2013, my husband was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. It was identified in a routine office visit when our family doctor heard a murmur. If he hadn’t gone for that checkup, if our doctor hadn’t heard that murmur, if he hadn’t had mitral valve replacement surgery he would have died within the year (so we were told). Medical science didn’t even have a way to work on the heart before 1953 (when the first successful heart-lung bypass was performed). My husband came out of that surgery, healthier than ever with an audible tick (the valve opening and closing), which we don’t even notice anymore – it’s just an ordinary (extraordinary) part of our lives.
  • Twice a year, I get to go on a health retreat in Tuscon, Arizona. Before 1950, that would have meant driving for many hours in a hot, gas-guzzling car to get there, probably sleeping on a cot with no air conditioning, and you do not even want to know what the body treatments would have looked like (okay, if you really want to know, here’s a glimpse). Today, I hop on a plane, hurtle through the air at over 500 mph, land in Tuscon appx. 2 hours after departure, then it’s luxury all the way.
  • Outside my window, I have a flower garden that’s bordered with natural stone blocks. At some point, someone went out into the wilderness, harvested enormous rough stones, transported them somehow back to a workshop of some sort and diced them up into the nice, neat, regular shapes that now line my flowerbed and are taken for granted every day.
  • My daughter lives in Vermont, an approximate 29-hour drive from where I live in Oklahoma; yet, we talk face-to-face on Skype every Sunday. A hundred years ago, handwritten letters would have been the best we could realistically hope for, delivered by horse or stagecoach – in just 10 days using Pony Express!
  • Indoor plumbing, electric lights, clean air and water, fresh food, cars to drive around in – our lives are infinitely more comfortable than our ancestors, who faced such hardships as walking everywhere, living together with extended family (as much as 3 generations worth), hand-me-down clothing, outhouses! Our ordinary is beyond extraordinary in comparison.

I could go on and on – it’s easy to be grateful when I really start to evaluate all that’s available to me. I recently read “The Humans” by Matt Haig and the main character (an alien from hundreds of thousands of light years away) talks about what a miraculous thing it is to be alive – on a planet that’s the perfect distance from a healthy sun, that spins just the right amount to keep out feet generally attached to the ground. Then there’s conception – the gazillion sperm of which just one meets the one egg (out of a gazillion) that results in you. Then there’s birth itself – everything working just as it should for nine months inside a woman’s belly to deposit you healthy and whole into the great big world!

You are lucky to be alive. Inhale and take in life’s wonders. Never take so much as a single petal of a flower for granted. — Matt Haig, The Humans