Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Small Joys: volume 28

Photo credit: Ian Barnard

Good morning (or evening, or afternoon, depending on when you're reading), dear friend!  I write to you this morning as I sit in my sunny kitchen with fresh flowers on the table and jazz music playing in the background.  I don't know if it's a result of being sick or having changed time zones so many times in the past week, but I've been waking up pretty early since we came home from Italy.  We arrived in Indy at 2AM on Saturday morning and woke up at 7, unable to sleep any longer.  Two nights ago, we took a nap at 5:15pm, woke up at 9:30pm, and just continued to sleep until 4:30 yesterday morning, when we woke up to make pancakes and coffee.  And today, thinking I would sleep for hours, I woke up at 6 and headed to the kitchen for another pancake breakfast.  I'm caught between unpacking from our trip, de-escalating from my husband's graduation from dental school, and beginning a summer semester for my last year of grad school.  So let's see what's bringing joy in the midst of the chaos this week!

No. 1: Fresh flowers. Yesterday, after dropping Scott off at the airport for a much-needed trip home, I drove to the northside to pick up some needed groceries from Trader Joe's.  I always crave their roasted red pepper & tomato soup when I'm sick, so I picked up gobs of it.  I am preparing for my wisdom teeth extraction next week as well, so I figured this soup would be an easy go-to when I'm on my liquid diet.  Anyways, I picked up two bouquets of flowers-- one for myself and one for a friend. When my friend came over last night, she had a giant bouquet of flowers for me, and I just laughed at how ironic it was that we both got flowers for each other.  This is why female friendships are so important-- women just get each other.  Now I have these gorgeous blooms on my kitchen table to look at as I clean and write today.

No. 2: Warmed goat cheese salads (and other summer salads). Ever since returning from Italy, I've been craving TONS of veggies.  I tend to crave veggies when summer rolls around, but I think the high intake of bread/carbs/pasta in Italy made this craving even more severe.  Last night I tried a warmed goat cheese salad that involved pecan crusted goat cheese that I baked for about 10 minutes and then placed atop a bed of fresh greens, apples, onions, and dates.  It was DELICIOUS and I will eat this every day forever.  Other salads I tend to make a lot of at this time of year include fruit salad and tomato/onion/feta/cucumber salad.  That last one is one I could eat a whole container of in one sitting. It's just divine.

No. 3: Amalfi Coast views. Our vacation this year was intended to be a true vacation-- one where we rested, relaxed, enjoyed beautiful views, ate delicious food.  And we actually did that.  We didn't zip around to the point of exhaustion like we normally do, or cram in EVERY sight to see in Italy.  We just did what we could and enjoyed each moment instead of rushing off to the do the next checklisted, itineraried item.  It was lovely.  The Amalfi Coast was beautiful, and I will definitely go back someday.  But I will wait until my legs recover from all the stair climbing, to be certain.

No. 4: A slower summer semester.  I only have one class this summer, which I am so thankful for.  This past semester wrung me dry, and I wondered how I would survive another year of grad school.  Supposedly next spring is the semester where my professor claims most students end up on antidepressants and struggle with a lot of anxiety and sleeplessness, so I'm enjoying the slow pace of the summer and allowing fun books to stack up on my nightstand.

No. 5: Bread and Wine. One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, just released her new podcast last week.  I listened to both episodes yesterday, and while listening, was reminded of how much I adore her writing in her book Bread and Wine.  So I picked it up again last night and added it to my nightly reading on my nightstand.

No. 6: Freshly mowed grass. There's something I love about mowing the lawn; I know, roll your eyes.  We'll say it's because we have such a tiny lawn that it's just a 15 minute endeavor to take on the lawn mowing experience.  Yesterday I saw the jungle in our yard that popped up while we are on vacation and set out to tame it just a bit. I love the satisfaction that comes with seeing those pretty lines in the grass.  I also love the smell of grass when it's been freshly mowed-- it smells like spring and summer and gardening to me.

No. 7: Bath bombs. For the past two years I have received bath bombs as birthday gifts, and I have to say that these are just THE BEST gift you could give someone.  It's an invitation to have a relaxing, indulgent treat in the middle of the otherwise mundane.  Thank you to Mary and Angela for gifting these bath bombs to me for the past two years!  Target's Earth Bomb is my current favorite.

No. 8: Clean sheets.  Every Sunday I put clean sheets on our bed, and sometimes I even wash our comforter and put a newly cleaned bedspread on our bed.  It's another treat that I look forward to every Sunday.  I missed it this week, so I'm doing a mid-week sheet cleaning to treat myself after vacation and being sick.  Speaking of being sick, I FINALLY feel like I'm emerging on the other side of my Italian virus that I picked up.  I know that viruses take 7-10 days to move on, but I ALWAYS think I'm dying until I reach that point in time, partly because my asthma spirals out of control and I'm a wheezy mess for a few days.

No. 9: Desiring less.  In my last Small Joys, I mentioned decluttering as a joy in my life.  This is still true-- I am still on a massive purging/decluttering spree and am feeling lighter each time I take another bag of goodies to Goodwill.  I find myself bringing less into our home, too, which is really a nice change.  I'm a work in progress for now, but God has given me a desire for more of the important stuff and less of the frivolous, material stuff, and for that, I am grateful.

That's all for now friends.  I'm off to clean house and get rid of more unneeded items.  Lots of love to you and hope your week is going well so far!