Yesterday was the official first day of spring. Instead of bemoaning the end of winter (which I have been known to do), let’s celebrate with a little end-of-the-season awards ceremony (just like the Oscars, only without the movies, celebrities, fancy dresses and political statements).
As much as I love long-stemmed red roses, I told Randy that I’d rather receive a present I could keep for Valentine’s Day this year. So, along with a lovely card and the customary (not to mention mandatory) box of chocolates, he presented me with my new favorite houseplant: a Ponytail Palm.
For me, the thought that goes into a gift is almost as meaningful as the gift itself. And, oddly enough, the fact that the Ponytail Palm reminds Randy of my hair pushes the significance meter sky high on this one.
Best Social Media Instructors
You may recall that Lilly spent one of our recent Mom Tickets helping me post my very first photo on Instagram. Since then, she and Molly have guided me in the ways of this platform, to the point where I can usually publish my own pictures without any help from anyone. (That’s a big accomplishment for me.)
Lilly is well versed in proper Instagram protocols (though so far I’ve mostly resisted her desire for me to find some reason to tag her in every single picture), while Molly (who doesn’t yet have a cell phone of her own) is my go-to gal when I forget the next posting step (again).
They’re both great teachers when it comes to stuff like this. (I think they get that from their dad.)
Meantime, I’ve come up with my own personal Instagram philosophy that includes only posting scenes that make me laugh, tug at my heart strings or bring me joy (including the latest blooms in my flowerbeds). If that appeals to you and Instagram is your thing, I’d love to connect with you here.
Best Quote from Long Ago
Speaking of social media, Randy recently ran across a quote by a French political philosopher from the 1700s that is so relevant to today’s society it’s almost eerie. Chew on this one for awhile:
“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”—Montesquieu
Best Sound Mixing in Our House
Aside from parents reading to their kids (or vice versa), books and noise don’t really go together. But at my house this winter, the sounds of reading were in the air—and I couldn’t have been more delighted about it.
Soft piano music (Christmas or classical, depending on the season) playing on the living-room stereo. Molly’s light-hearted laughter as she comes across a funny part in her new book series and pauses to read it out loud to Randy. Lilly on the couch, engrossed in whatever library book happens to be nearby and always—always!—crinkling the plastic cover as she reads.
Be still my happy heart.
I expect there are those who need absolute quiet in order to enjoy a book. Clearly, I’m not one of them.
Best Song for This Season of Life
I’ve been a bit sporadic when it comes to posting a new Song of the Month regularly, but music continues to nurture my soul in important ways these days. In particular, I just can’t get enough of the following tune from Casting Crowns. The overall message is profound, and there are specific lines that literally take my breath away every time I hear them.
If your heart is in need of an encouraging lift today, please take a moment to listen to this.
Best Musical Surprise
I have one daughter who thrives in spotlights of her choosing and likes to stay so busy I can hardly see straight, and another who thrives in the shadows with lots of margin. And white space. And down time. And sleeping in. (You get the idea.)
Anyway, I had no idea second daughter was planning to participate in the upcoming middle school solo and ensemble festival until her older sister mentioned something about it in passing a couple of weeks ago.
Wait, what? Molly’s doing what?
Sure enough, she and her best friend had been diligently practicing their clarinet duet every morning before school. She was up a half hour early the day of the contest, and appeared to be the picture of calmness that evening as she ate supper and got herself ready for the big event.
I knew she had prepared well, but I could barely keep the tears back as I watched her perform. She was so composed, so grown-up looking. The girls played well together, earning a top “one” rating.
Then we came home and Molly scarfed down an entire second supper. Apparently, playing your clarinet in front of a judge, your parents and your big sister requires a great deal of energy for someone like my sweet girl.
Best Quote from a Modern-day Newspaper
We didn’t have a television when I was a kid, so I grew up reading the daily newspaper. Even all these decades later, fetching the paper from my driveway is an integral part of my morning routine.
It’s probably an understatement to say that newspapers these days are not what they once were. I’ve come close to canceling my subscription many times, but one of the things that keeps me coming back for more is the sports section. I’m not an athlete, but I am a fan—one who loves to read sports stories.
In early January, our entire metropolitan area was gearing up to watch the Kansas City Chiefs host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs. As part of its coverage, the Kansas City Star published a poignant feature on our team’s beloved former coach who is now battling Alzheimer’s.
I’ll close this quarterly recap with a quote from that story that continues to resonate in the deepest chambers of my heart and mind:
“Life is a journey of one step at a time: You pick one foot up, you put it on the ground. You pick your other foot up, you put it on the ground. And you just continue to do your thing.”—Marty Schottenheimer