Small Pleasures: August 2017

August was a month of changes for my family and me.  My youngest son, my baby, turned sixteen.  Sixteen!  He has his permit and now my husband and I can look forward to six months of being scared witless every time we get in a vehicle with him because he will be behind the wheel, learning how to drive.  In August we also experienced the bittersweet and disorienting upheaval of sending our two older kids to college for the first time and the subsequent struggle to establish a “new normal”.   The realization that life will never be the same has been sobering.

Needless to say, August was an emotionally complicated couple of weeks for me.  This is why I’m happy to focus on the simple things that added sweetness and lightness to my month.  It feels good and right to acknowledge that no matter what is going on externally or internally in my life there is always something to appreciate and be thankful for.


August’s Small Pleasures

  • Fresh flower bouquets.  I think the flowers have been breathtaking this summer and the local orchard had spectacular bouquets for sale all month.  Zinnia, hydrangea, black-eyed susan, lisianthus, coxcomb, snapdragons, sunflowers – you name it.  I couldn’t help myself.  I bought a bouquet every time I stopped in the orchard outlet.
  • Definicils mascara (Lancôme).  This is the perfect mascara – no clumping, no flaking, no running.  Even though it is always showing up on make-up “Best Of” lists, I avoided purchasing it because of the price tag.  No more!  My eyelashes have never looked so good.  🙂
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (in audiobook format).  Jacqueline Woodson’s award-winning (National Book Award and Newberry Honor) autobiography is children’s literature of the highest order.  It’s written in verse, which makes for an interesting reading/listening experience.  The story provides a singular, intimate portrait of a young African American girl’s experience growing up in the South and in New York City in the 1960s and early 1970s.  Woodson narrates the audiobook and it is so well done.   I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Spending time with my family.  I always enjoy being with my family, but the times we spent together this month seemed more precious because I knew the kids were heading off to school.  I’m thankful my kids still enjoy hanging out with Jay and I and hope the changing circumstances don’t interfere with this too much.
  • Shetland. I’m talking about the series which I discovered on Netflix, not the actual islands.  My husband and I spent several nights watching the atmospheric murder mysteries which take place on the northern islands of  Scotland.  Breathtaking cinematography, moody music, interesting crimes.  What more could a person ask for?  One small warning, though.  Some of the characters have heavy brogues which make understanding what is going on a bit dicey.  We spent a fair amount of time replaying certain scenes to get the gist of the dialogue.  Trust me, though.  It’s worth the effort.
  • Solar eclipse shadows. (See below)                                                                                         We were not in the swath of the United States which experienced a total eclipse of the sun on August 21.  This was somewhat disappointing until we discovered the partial eclipse in the dapple patterns on the patio.  When the sunlight filtered through the leaves of the Zelkova trees in our backyard, the spaces between the leaves acted like pinhole cameras.  These “cameras” created multiple partial eclipses that shimmered over the pavers and furniture.  I took photos but they don’t do the experience justice.  It was magical.


August has faded away and it’s departure marks the unofficial end of summer.  It makes me sad to say good-bye to my personal happy-go-lucky season, but I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t looking forward to cooler temperatures, brilliant fall colors, harvest fairs, and hot chocolate.  It’s time to look forward to the new season and all the good things that come with it.


A fun song…

Inspiration: March


If you believe the calendar, spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.  Hurray!  Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t quite gotten the message.  This means I’m dreaming more of spring than actually experiencing it.  Still, the sun is higher in the sky and the willow trees are beginning to turn green – events promising that Nature and the calendar will eventually get on the same train.  Then, the rejoicing will truly begin around here.

I’ve found all kinds of inspiration this month. Some is directly related to the season: Easter, spring cleaning, and my birthday. Some of the links just caught my fancy in one way or another and I thought they might do the same for you.


Inspiration: March

  • The perfect perspective of home.
  • Speaking of home, springtime often means spring cleaning.  Some ideas for tackling the job.
  • Listening to audiobooks while cleaning the house?  I never have, but think it’s a lovely idea.  Here are some great suggestions.  I’ve been wanting to read The Buried Giant and The Goldfinch.  Maybe I’ll listen to them instead.
  • Cleaning is not really my favorite sport.  These cleaners might tempt me to do it more often simply because they would smell so good!
  • After the house is clean, it’ll probably be time for an Easter Brunch.
  • This also belongs on the menu.  Actually, it could be the menu and I’d be happy.
  • Of course, there must be flowers on the Easter brunch table.  Or any time, really.
  • More flowers.  And way more creativity.
  • And speaking of creativity, just give me one small corner of this space and I could create whimsical creatures, too!
  • I’ll be celebrating my 46th birthday in a few days.  This interview came at just the right time.
  • Did you know that a fully illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is in the works?  It looks perfectly wonderful.
  • I’m heading to Scotland this summer.  Steven Carter is whipping my anticipation into a frenzy.  I. Can. Not. Wait.
  • Finally, I’ve been finding Hillsong’s The Creed to be especially inspirational coming into this Easter season.


I’m feeling very inspired.  I think I’ll head to the grocery store and collect some more flowers.  Even if it’s not quite feeling like spring outside, there’s no harm in making it look like spring inside.