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Posts tagged ‘abundance’

Farewell to July! (*sob*)

via Getty

via Getty

Farewell to July!

If ever a poem were written called “Farewell to July,” I haven’t yet heard it.  But I can pretty much guarantee the lyrics are written in the heart of every teacher and every mom and every student.  Because no matter how much you love learning, love structure, and love kids—this song is no rhapsody.

Are you tired of wet towels rumpled around the back door?  Tired of half-eaten popsicles and ant stings and really, really long car rides?  Flip flops that flip but don’t flop?  Setting the alarm for 4 AM so you can wake everyone up to catch the plane that will keep you strapped to your seat for 5 hours?  (And that’s what we call a vacation)

“Why is it,” I asked my daughter, “that when I move over the calendar for a glimpse of August, my adrenaline surges like it’s the 9th month of pregnancy?”  My whole summer to-do list shoots before my eyes like the booming bright fireworks I watched  3 weeks ago.  There’s that one last closet to organize, and that wilting flower bed that’s nowhere near the vision I thought it would be.  I haven’t yet lost those last ten pounds, sent those friendly cards in the mail, or returned that borrowed platter with chocolate chip cookies.

“Maybe,” said my daughter, who had her second baby 5 months ago and freshly remembers the near-panic nesting stage,  “you’re remembering how every school year you promise yourself you’re going to stay on top of things and about 3 weeks into it you realize you’ve lost every ounce of free time.”

“Yes,” was my reply.

That would be it exactly.

Now I’m not about to complain.  I’m not sad it’s over—I’m happy it happened!  Remember that spontaneous swim with all our clothes on, just because we didn’t want to bother changing?   And how hard we laughed when the grandkids exhaled into their loopy straws and bubbled their milk all over the table?  Remember the gas station dinners (a chili cheese dog and black licorice, mind you) that felt ridiculously indulgent?  Sunrise at the beach?  Horses in the meadow?  Fresh raspberry ice cream?  Midnight runs to Redbox?

Why, I even talked my husband into getting a pedicure with me!  Sans the polish.

So I braved Wal-Mart today, because pencil boxes were a dollar each and I had to buy 25 of them.  And you know what?  Those Back To School banners weren’t as awful as I thought they’d be!  I lived, I breathed, I was joyfully consumed in my summer vacation. So what?  No regrets!

And when school begins in another few weeks, I will immerse myself just as richly as I did in June and July.  Because life is good, no matter the season.  And everything brings with it a unique sense of adventure.

Now, I’ve just got to find that last little bit of entertainment on my summer bucket list—I’m just craving a ride on a roller coaster!


Have You Kissed a Clam Today?

Life's Beautiful Moments via Getty Image

Life’s Beautiful Moments
via Getty Image


Spectacular summer moments of June!  Would you like to hear about one of them?

First—can I just say I love being home? At my house. “Beautiful view, near city lights without city hassles, sunny weather, swimming pool, with all the conveniences of home.” I read that on a vacation brochure and thought, ‘Well, they just described my very own place!”

And I think about that each morning that I wake up WITHOUT an alarm clock sending me off to school. I have issues with alarm clocks. Who doesn’t?? I try to wake up before it rings so I don’t have to hear it. But…who cares? During June, I just wake up whenever!!


So I took my parents out to visit my sister in San Diego. And I adore her. The visit was definitely a spectacular summer moment. Not only because her house is resort-like (seriously) but because I kissed a clam.

The beach was soft, soft and warm, deep with healing sand that envelops the soles of your feet and spans for miles. No people. How did that miracle happen? Just a half dozen birds hopping around making tracks.

And I just get breathless when I see the ocean! It’s like I’m seeing God or something—so powerful and mysterious and inviting and cosmic. And whenever my toes touch the waves I am transformed into the liquid universe of all the shores the Pacific touches. And I am immersed in all the world, past or present; what has been and what will be.

And my dad said, “I feel ready to get knocked down by a few waves.” So we walked slowly out, slowly and deliciously, into the grayish blue, skin tingling and shivery.   Waist-deep,  we steadied ourselves, anticipating the approach of each rolling, foaming swell., “Awwww, here comes a good one!”  we’d holler.  And our legs would teeter and quiver at first but not for long. We braced ourselves against the ocean’s force, securing our feet into the indescribable sand beneath the waves.

Then my right foot touched something hard. And round and smooth. I registered a few questions in my head like, ‘Ummm….what do stingrays feel like?’ And ‘There’s not a single stone on this whole beach, how did my foot find one?” So as the wave receded, I bent down so low that my face got wet, and pulled out the most magnificent golden clam you could ever imagine!

“Dad! Dad, look!” It was surprisingly heavy, about a foot across, and I had to hold onto it with both hands. The left side had a little slip of flesh hanging from it, but other than that it was tightly closed. It felt solid and cold, but warm too. And I had the most amazing feeling that The Clam knew it was safe with me.

Dad was impressed. As the waves continued their rhythmic pounding, I held the clam overhead, high as my two hands could reach. My arms stretched into the sky and I just held them there for a bit.

“You gonna see what’s inside it?”

“No Dad,” I smiled, recognizing that the little girl he’d known in me over the decades would have done exactly that. The clam was not a curiosity for me. I knew what was inside it. Something alive, that’s what. I pressed my lips to it.   Silly, I know. But the decades of my life have taught me exquisite things, and this moment was something to celebrate. It was the best way I knew how to say thank you.

Then, I reached back down through the salty water, the movement of my long hair flowing back and forth beneath the surface. My fingers scraped aside a little sand and I tucked the clam into its home, burying it the best I could into the cold ocean floor.

And I walked back with my dad toward shore, both of us slightly off balance each time a wave slammed us from behind.

“Have you kissed a clam today?” my dad chuckled, stepping onto dry ground. I helped him wrap a towel around his shoulders.

“Somehow, Dad, I’m gonna make sure I kiss a clam every day.”  Dry sand clung to our ankles as we made our way back.  “Every single day.”


It's Simple!

It’s Simple!


It’s Simple!

  • A few years ago, our family moved from a small town to a big city.  While buying one house, living in another house, and trying to sell a third house, life got a little grim.  Cashflow was scarce, and spontaneous spending had to be cut out completely.  We all knew it was temporary, but life still felt a little dreary. The days no longer carried the same lighthearted lilt they used to.

It was like a starvation diet.

And as much as we grownups hate that “tight budget” feeling, convincing our kids to stop begging for stuff is so lovely, isn’t it?  You’re in some public place, your six-year-old spots the very item he simply must have for survival, you say no, he screams, fellow customers pull out their phones, you stick the item in your cart, wave to the onlookers, then slip the prize back onto some random shelf when your kid’s distracted.

Sometimes my Firm Face is  glad  we can’t afford it. That’s when I agree with my offspring that I am indeed the meanest mother in the world. Other times my Firm Face kind of melts, and my heart too, because I’d really like to buy That Thing for them.  We all know the whole Needs vs Wants lesson.  But when you feel like you’re constantly denying yourself, it’s hard to Just Say No every day, to everyone.

One particularly bleak Saturday, I realized what was happening to us.  We’d been so excited to make this move and have these changes!  We were closing in on purchasing exactly the house we wanted!  But we were starting to let that old “Scarcity Mentality” seep in.  It brings out the worst in people.  So, I figured, what’s the opposite of scarcity?


Here’s what I did.  I sat down next to my 12-year-old daughter and asked, “What does abundance look like to you?”


“I mean…if you could have whatever you wanted…what would your bedroom look like?  Your closet?  Our family room?  Dinner time?  Saturday afternoons?”

I took time to ask each family member, when no one else was listening.  Opening up our minds to possibilities really cheered us up!

We had some laughs and shared some thoughts.  We got to know each others’ preferences in some startling ways.  But even better than that, with our imaginations conjuring up all sorts of richness, we discovered that many of our wishes were not monetary at all!  We could do  these things, or make a plan to get them started.  We even came up with strategies for a few delightful surprises!

Here’s what The Abundant Life looks like for our family:

A checker tournament with Dad     Housekeeper

A framed mirror in the hallway   Red high heels

Frequent walks to the ice cream store      Aquarium

Basketful of apples         Long drives up the mountain

Fresh flowers on the table              Wrought iron fence

A tablet for everyone        Softer bedsheets

More pillows on the bed     Fountain in the front yard

Valet parking when it’s available          Popcorn machine

Popsicles in the freezer       Gymnastics lessons        Palm trees

Theater room         Secret compartments       A tree house

Artist easel with canvas         Cookie jar never empty

Individual cereal boxes with everyone’s favorite        Drum set

Books by the fireplace         Family water balloon fight

Scented candles          New games for Xbox      Cozy socks

This idea worked out great for us.  The grouchies were gone!  We had new fun things to focus on.  And you’d be surprised at how many of them really did happen!  Ask your family what Abundance is for them. It may be simpler than you think!