Friday, April 22, 2016

Magic Lessons

The sun began to drop
low in the sky, preparing
to dazzle us with another
April sunset. 

I raced for my camera,
shouting, Look at the sunset!
Isn't it amazing!  I need to
capture this before it's gone!

Why?  It looks just like a
bunch of others that you've
taken before.....

Couldn't he see how magical
this sunset was?  How each
sunset is just a little 
different than the one that
came before?

At that moment, it dawned
on me that not everyone has
been trained to see the 
magic, the way that I was. 

You see, I grew up surrounded
by magic see-ers.

My parents taught me to spy magic
in the sun and the stars, in leaves
and in water, in animals, in 
seasons, in holidays, in food, in 
plants, in music, in history, in
books and in dramas on big screens,
small screens and stages.

And so much more.

Come, look at this! was a
common refrain in our home.

My dad's parents also had this
magical ability, as did Gigi, my
maternal grandmother.

Besides seeing magic, they taught
me to savor the small things, like
a raspberry from Grandpa's garden,
the first sip of a frosty drink on
a hot day or the cozy feel of a
fire on a very cold one.

Isn't this beautiful?
(or wonderful)they'd say.

Aren't we lucky? Gigi often 

Recognizing magic and savoring 
life's blessings is modeled 
by those who surround us, and
I am very grateful that these
precious teachers showed me
the way.

Life as a magic see-er brings
a celebratory feeling to each and
every day, as I anticipate and 
gratefully receive the tiny gifts
I am certain will come my way.

The diamond bright sparkle of
sunshine winking off the lake.

The heavenly aroma of coffee
brewing in the morning.

The silky feel of my dog's
fur as my hand glides down
her neck.

The sound of a chickadee as
it trills happily near 
our house.

Hot water pelting my 
shoulders in the shower.

Magic moments, all.

Discerning magic isn't a
skill that can be picked up
by a how-to on YouTube, nor
is there a printed guide like
Magic-Seeing for Dummies. 

But it can be learned, first
by recognizing that so many,
many things are truly wondrous,
from the earth that we inhabit
to the very fact that we are
alive, here and now, to enjoy
it; and then shifting that
awareness to praise and

Magic seeing, like any skill,
must be practiced over and
over and over again, until
it's simply part of who you

Observe. Wonder. Praise.


Extraordinary magic is woven
through ordinary life.  
Look around!  

~ Amy Leigh Mercree

Can you see the magic?


This post is part of the Grace Notes
Blog Hop, celebrating life's ordinary
magic.  Grace Notes is the blog of
the beautiful Bella Grace Magazine.
Click here to discover more magic 

(All post pics my own.
Thank you to my lovely
nieces for letting me
capture their unbridled
joy on a warm spring

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Time to Run

I stepped outside my son’s school
 last week into dazzling sunlight.
I'd parked my car quite far from
the entrance and as I squinted
into the brilliant sky, I was
suddenly seized by an impulse

to run.

It was one of those moments 
where your heart is just happy.
Birds were chirping and perfect
puffy clouds hung in the sky.  If
there'd been a hopscotch game
outlined on the sidewalk, I would
have hop, hop, hopped all the
way through it.

But, I had a lot of stops to make 
on my way home.  Grown up stuff.

I should just run to the car,
thought.  It will save time.

Which led me to ponder:

When do we stop running?

Not running for exercise or to
save time, but just for the joy 
of movement; of propelling
oneself headlong into the
great wide world.

The next day I was again at school.
It was dismissal time and another
beautiful afternoon. Groups of 
younger children clustered on the
front lawn, chasing each other,
skipping, hopping and running
despite the chill of early spring
and the still scruffy grass.

They didn’t care what they looked
like or who was watching, or how
the cold air stung their cheeks.

Instead, these little ones ran with
exuberance, abandon and a 
complete lack of self-

When do we stop running?

When we leave our elementary years?
Before?  After?  When does that
sort of running ~ as part of our
DNA ~ stop existing?

Do you remember?

This week I gratefully celebrate 
another birthday.  Like I've done
since childhood, I anticipate 
this day for the precious gift 
that it is, rather than with 
any sort of dread.

Birthdays taste sweeter to
me now, because I'm keenly
aware that my stay on this
beautiful planet is finite, and
I don't take my gift of days
for granted the way I used to.

Because even imperfect days that
are cloudy or grumpy or rushed
or sad or messy are still days
to love and to learn and simply,
to live.

They present opportunities to
laugh, to hug, to twirl or
to sing out loud, gratefully.

And yes, time to run,
simply for


One can never consent to creep 
when one feels an impulse 
to soar.

~ Helen Keller


{all pics P&H}

Friday, April 1, 2016

An Earl Grey

I got you Lemon Lift,  my pal
Fiona said, setting a cup and
saucer before me with a tea
bag nestled next to the 
hot water.

It was either that or Earl Grey,
she explained, wrinkling her
nose just slightly as she
settled into the cafe chair.

Someone must like it, I replied,
shaking my head as I tried to
imagine such a thing.

Chuckling companionably, we 
bobbed our tea bags in the
steaming water, two peas in a
pod who would never choose
Earl Grey.

I used to hate chamomile, I
admitted, but it's grown on me.

What about cilantro?  she asked.

Or plain Greek yogurt? I replied.

Pink jelly beans? she countered.

With the exception of the pink
jelly beans (what flavor is that,
anyway?), we agreed that there
are some tastes that require
numerous exposures before you
truly like them, if you ever
do, at all.

Later that spring day, while 
scouring a vintage shop for
treasures, Fiona held up a
funny little dress, its fabric
a riot of 1970's colors.

That might be an Earl Grey,
I responded, and as we laughed,
a new phrase was written in 
our friends forever lexicon:

An Earl Grey:  Something that
appeals to someone, somewhere,
even though it doesn't appeal 
to you (right now).

I added the right now because
the chamomile, cilantro and
plain Greek yogurt were 
evidence that one's tastes
could change.

As mine did favorably, 
a year later, for Earl Grey.

Yep, you read that right. In a
pinch last summer I accepted 
a cup of Earl Grey tea -- the
dubious flavor that inspired 
this whole post --

and I liked it. 

Which made me wonder how 
many other Earl Greys -- things,
experiences, moments -- I passed
over at first because the idea
didn't appeal or I had tried it
once and it wasn't my cup
of tea.

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Aloe vera juice (ugh) 
Painting (not artistic) 
Neti pots (yukky)
Weight lifting (boring)
Pressure Cookers (scary)
Running (torture)
Turmeric (trendy)
Podcasts (huh?)

These are just a few things 
that I shrugged off in the
recent past, only to revisit
them again and find that they 
aren't just okay, they are
pretty darn great....for me.

(Although the aloe vera juice 
may never become an acquired
taste, despite its health

I still don't like pink jelly
beans, but my Earl Grey moment
taught me that I should keep
trying new things and new
adventures, despite my initial

What are some of your 

Earl Greys?

Your assumptions are your
windows on the world.  Scrub
them off every once in awhile,
or the light won't come in.

~ Isaac Asimov


(all pics my own)