When the Mind Won’t Stop {5 Ideas That Might Help}

There you are, on the couch with your kids, in the stands at the game, at the coffee shop with a friend. You’re sitting. You’re supporting. You’re socializing. But you haven’t stopped. You’ve pushed pause. Your body is still, at least enough to watch and cheer and talk, but your mind is running. Writing a grocery list. Rehashing a conversation. Remembering the mountain of laundry waiting at home for a reboot. What’s to be done with a mind that resists the pause button, a mind that won’t stop? Set it. Set its direction. Set is tone. Set its limits. Set {Continue Reading}

Gifts and Graces: Spring Edition

Yesterday I hurried into Walmart for a few things and emerged–much more slowly–pushing a cart. Right outside the door I caught the fragrance of something I’d seen but not stopped to appreciate on the way in: flowers for sale. It was the scent of spring. I try, with varying degrees of success, not to focus so much on the difficulties of a season  that I miss out on the good. This winter, with its perpetual grey skies that delivered more rain than snow, proved hard not to wish away. Already the best gift and amazing grace of spring is that it arrived, just {Continue Reading}

Winter’s Good Graces {and Why to Keep Track}

The bleak midwinter, Christina Rossetti called it. And while her poem is lovely, living with continual strings of short, cold, sunless days is not. I believe that there is a time for everything, even bleak days. And yet. It’s at such times when my practice of pausing occasionally to ponder the path, to take stock of each season’s gifts and graces saves me from giving in to cabin fever and its ilk. Winter’s good graces are less obvious than those of the more temperate seasons. I find it’s possible to uncover them, though, when I’m intentional about looking. Here, at winter’s midpoint, is a list of some of {Continue Reading}

Taking the Best of One Year Into the Next

Gravel crunched under the tires as I made my way through early morning’s darkness down the lane, away from my home in the country toward a hospital in the city. Des Moines has six general hospitals and I could picture and plot a route to every one of them. Every one except the one where my mom was having surgery that morning. The road to Mercy was lost to me. I checked Google Maps on our computer and while I still couldn’t envision where I was headed, I could see it on the map and pick between the three routes {Continue Reading}

Gifts and Graces

Gratitude. It doesn’t always come naturally. grat i tude noun the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Along with the continual quest to lift my eyes so I can see, I’ve been trying to acknowledge life’s gifts and the little graces of each season. It’s a practice that helps me cultivate gratitude and walk life’s road more grace-fully. These are some of this season’s gifts and graces: Cats, because field mice and fall. And also there’s purring. The settling in that comes with shorter days and longer nights. Glimpses of the sun after a string of grey. {Continue Reading}

Because Winter is Inevitable

Once, long ago, before babies and moves to houses in new communities, I picked up the beginning of an understanding of the seasons—their rhythms, their tasks, their hard realities. Learning to be a mom to three babies while finding my way in three different towns left room for little else in my brain. I traded a loose grip on the concept of seasons for the clutching fist of survival. It was not a good trade. I forgot that seasons really do change. That whether delightful or dry, balmy or bitter, fertile or fruitless, they don’t last forever. That there is {Continue Reading}

The Light of Summer

As the sun set over the baseball field at the end of a sweltering July day, I sat in the stands and tried not to long for fall. Extreme heat is kind of my kryptonite, so I found myself fighting to not wish the light of summer away over a little discomfort. Summer, hot as it is right now, is already fading. Like a sweet newborn who marches toward independence from the first breath, each season arrives with the end in sight. And autumn, it’s getting ready, waiting in the wings, ready to take center stage. Soon enough I will miss summer’s warmth. If you’ve {Continue Reading}

Adele and the Rearview Mirror

At our Christmas celebration the cover image of a magazine in my parents’ living room caught my eye. It featured Adele. I like reading about celebrities, usually in germ-infested copies of People magazine at the doctor’s office. I wasn’t at the doctor’s and this wasn’t People. It was Time magazine. All I knew about Adele was that she’s known for taking a different-than-usual celebrity path.  So I picked up the magazine and read about her decision to step back from the limelight for a few years after the birth of her child, that her next album will be released too late to meet the eligibility {Continue Reading}

Celebrating Spring

Spring is well underway and I’m celebrating. Some of these celebrations are borne from intention while others occur as naturally as breath. They are, in random order: Color Green grass and leaves, flowering trees and shrubs are here. They’ve created a feast for my earth-tone weary eyes and I am grateful. Time After a long too-busy season, life for our family slowed enough for us to take a deep breath. That same season, known at our house as robotics, may come again. We’re trying to decide whether or not to say “yes” to that and, if so, how we’ll approach it {Continue Reading}