Day 11: The First Snow!

This morning, Bennett came running into my room saying, “Mommy, it snowed!” We pulled open the blinds and there it was — a fresh coat of fluffy snow.

We slid on our snow clothes and went out to the front driveway to make a snowman.

Wonder like today’s is easy — it’s a gift from mother nature.

It also helps that today is Saturday. I don’t have to worry about Nick driving an hour into the city for work or driving Bennett to daycare or parking then walking a half mile through the snow to campus. We can sip our coffee at home and just enjoy the wonder of snow.

Day 10: A Morning Wave

Bennett and I had to leave the house two hours early today for a training I had at the university. We usually take our mornings slow and enjoy the time together watching Daniel Tiger and eating a big breakfast, but today’s hustle out of the house was something different.

When we were leaving the neighborhood, a young boy, middle school aged, waved at us as we were headed out. He had a big smile and I could tell he was genuinely spreading morning cheer.

The gesture of a young boy being friendly and waving was a bright happy start to the day. Instead of looking down on his phone, he was looking up, and interacting with the world…even at such an early hour.

Also, today was the first rain of 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Tomorrow, it is supposed to snow!

Day 9: Wonder Moon in January

The moon is brilliant. We are two days from a full moon, and I can tell we are getting close.

Today has been a little stressful. I am moving out of my office at the university because they will be renovating and asbestos will be flying everywhere. I don’t want to be near any of that, but will have to be for classes.

So tonight, I just needed a moment with the moon.

Also, a friend told me she felt a sense of wonder when her cat fell asleep on her feet. What did I say, cats are the best.

Day 6: A Canceled Flight, A New Perspective

When our plane touched down in Oklahoma, I was sleeping. Like one of those tilt-your-head-back and catch the flies kind of sleeps. Reader: I never sleep in public places (and half the time I have trouble sleeping in bed). So you can bet I was some kind of exhausted.

Our flight the night before had been canceled due to mechanical errors, so American rebooked us for the next morning. At first I was annoyed (it was so AMERICAN of them….they do this to us a lot). But then I was relieved. One more day at home in California. One more day with family.

That night (the extra one) I went with my mom and dad to my dad’s work party. Since he retired from being a Principal, he became a banquet bartender at a fancy hotel. The hotel was throwing their annual holiday party. Last year I was able to go too — so it felt special to be able to go again.

During the loud ’00s dance music, and while my dad played Blackjack with fake money, my mom and I walked the property. We found a jacuzzi and slipped off our shoes, and shared a few moments together while looking at the stars. It was one of those picturesque scenes out of the movies — a mother and daughter connecting. With three other siblings, a husband, a dad, and a son, it’s rare for my mom and I to be able to just sit uninterrupted. And it was lovely. (It was also fun seeing my dad mingle with his hotel co-workers….he loves a good time.)

(As I write this my mom is FaceTime-ing me. She must know I’m writing about her!)

On our drive home to our little town of Stillwater, OK, from the airport, it felt good to be back. That’s a mini-miracle all on its own. Because to be honest, living here can sometimes feel….different. So the shift in perspective was a welcomed one.

And to really grasp today’s wonder, when I came home, our friends who were watching our cat and plants left us donuts. AND (the best yet) one of my orchids (one that I wasn’t sure about) sprouted a new branch. A teeny branch, which will grow into a full stem, sprouting new buds, to finally BLOOM. Orchids are my soul flowers. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about them this year.

Day 5: The Wonder of Tiny Seeds

“Come outside. I have to show you this,” my mom said.

I followed her outside to a little area of dirt next to the sidewalk I hardly ever notice. The patch is shaded and nothing grows there.

“Look closely,” she said.

I bent down and noticed between the coiled hose, a tiny sprout of something green.

“Back in October, after we carved pumpkins, I carried the seeds to the trash. One must have fallen off the plate, and now it has grown here.”

I looked closer, in awe, as there it was: the pumpkin seed still attached to the top of the sprout.

“Isn’t that amazing?”

In life, sometimes we plant seeds, and other times, something grows despite supposedly being “trash.”

Maybe the new year can bring a re-imagining about how we see failures in our own lives. If we open our eyes and look for the unexpected of what was once discarded, we might just find a gift.

Tiny pumpkin
Up close

Day 3: Wonder while Feeding the Animals

I slide my feet into two over-sized mucking boots. My pajamas are still on. I walk across the grass, still dewy from the early morning. The miniature horse, Skittles, neighs. The chickens cluck and the duck screeches. The sun slices through the trees at an exact angle. There is something peaceful and calming and therapeutic about feeding the animals in my parents’ backyard.

The feeling it left on me is something like wonder — it’s like I left a yoga class. I feel restored.

Even with the mixed smells of manure, clumpy mud, and hay, it all leaves a full body feeling. Perhaps, no wonder people have been up with the sun for centuries beginning their daily work. There is something good that happens to the body, and also the mind.