Something Good

1. ‘Comfort Decorating’ Is All About Making Your Home A Sanctuary. “It’s called ‘comfort decorating,’ and it can provide a sense of normalcy even when everything around us feels, well, not very normal.”

2. How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life. “The Water for Elephants author’s six-year fight to free an incarcerated man left her absolutely broke and critically ill.”

3. You Can Now Download a Collection of Ancient Japanese Wave Illustrations for Free.

4. The Grief Crisis Is Coming on The New York Times. For each person who dies of Covid-19, experts say there are at least nine newly bereaved. We must begin to address the toll.”

5. Fear Of Flying | Stop Motion Animated Short Film. “It’s time to migrate south, but Dougal is afraid of flying. The tragicomic adventure of a bird and its phobias.”

6. The 31 Finalists Of 2021 Bird Photographer Of The Year Awards.

7. The first photo I ever took of my daughter, and the last.

8. Detox Your Mind: 5 Practices to Purify the 3 Poisons on Lion’s Roar. “Five Buddhist teachers share practices to clear away the poisons that cause suffering and obscure your natural enlightenment.”

9. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön:

There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You can see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same.

A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. 

10. Black Collagists on Instagram, “A digital archive and arts incubator highlighting the work of Black collage artists globally.”

11. For the introverts: Dreading Going Back to ‘Normal’? Reentry Fear Is Real and Why a Clutter-Free Environment Is Important for Introverts.

12. Return the National Parks to the Tribes from The Atlantic. “The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples.”

13. I’ve had the same supper for 10 years. “I have lived in the Teifi valley, in west Wales, all my life: 72 years. I’m a farmer and look after 71 sheep. My boyhood was spent helping my family on the farm. I have never wanted to run away from it, even as a young lad. This valley is cut in the shape of my heart.” His is such a sweet, inspiring story, to live your life exactly as you want it, content with who you are and what you do, even if it might seem strange to everyone else.

14. A Pastor’s Son Becomes a Critic of Religion on TikTok on The New York Times. “John Piper is one of the most influential theologians in America. His son Abraham calls evangelicalism ‘a destructive, narrow-minded worldview.'”

15. The Ms. Q&A With Ani DiFranco: “You Have License To Be All the Aspects of Yourself and To Be Unashamed of Them.”

16. Ada Limón on Preparing the Body for a Reopened World: The Challenges of Emerging from Lockdown.

 

Gratitude Friday

Image by Eric

1. Snow. We got about five inches overnight. The sun is out today and it’s already melting. Last year on this day, we woke up to nine inches — and this is why when you live here, you don’t plant anything in your garden or get your snow tires taken off until after May 15th.

2. Comfort. A hot cup of coffee and cocoa with tiny marshmallows on top, a crunchy Gala apple, getting money back on our taxes for the second year in a row, hanging out and writing with Calyx, down blankets and pillows, a warm shower, a shoulder massage from Eric, a full massage from Dana, grocery pickup, reading, a sleepy soft warm dog.

3. Practice. In particular, I’ve really been leaning in to my writing practice. Taking a class with Natalie Goldberg and rereading all her books is reminding me who I am, how to do this, and also some of the reasons why.

4. Morning walks. The last half of the week, because of the storm that was on its way, was so gloomy. We saw a heron, one of the fox parents, a few deer, and heard some wild turkeys. There are more birds and therefore more noise in the morning and everything is turning green.

5. My tiny family, my tiny house, my tiny life. I can’t believe Sam has already been gone for almost a year. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be ready for another dog. I think I will, (how could I not?), but after raising four and losing three, those losses all coming in what felt like the shortest ten years ever, all from cancer, I’m so brokenhearted and wary. And two of those losses are tangled up with others, losing Kelly right after Obi, and then losing Angela right after Sam. I’m needing a lot more space, time, and healing this time around. I also worry Ringo will be a hard dog to match, as he can be a real jerk. I adore him but it’s just the truth. Thankfully, for now he seems to be fine being the center of our attention, so we’ll keep taking our time, however long that might be.

Bonus joy: watching a movie while I cuddle up in my favorite corner of the couch, reading, writing practice, burritos and tacos, lemons and limes, pancakes with jam, talking with a neighbor about our dogs, seeing neighbors out walking their dogs, flowers, birds at the feeder and in the bird bath, podcasts (I am loving Mike Birbiglia’s “Working it Out,” it’s like a writing masterclass but funny), Spotify playlists (one called “Deep Focus” is one of my favorites to put on while I write), writing at the dining room table (honestly, it took me a long time to get used to this being my “office” but now I’m really enjoying being in the middle of things rather than tucked away in the back of the house), texting with my mom and brother and Chloe’, talking to my mom and dad on his 80th birthday, fresh eggs from Chloe’s chickens, making plans for projects that I don’t actually have to start today or ever, muffins, sitting with Eric in the infrared sauna, reading in bed at night while Ringo and Eric sleep.