I can’t believe it’s June already! In just a few short weeks, 2021 will be half over. I remember a friend saying years ago, as I held an infant Marshall in my arms, that I just pressed the fast-forward button on my life. There is something about living in the cycle of the school year, watching your kids mature and grow taller than you (Marshall just passed me by almost 2″), and the bustle of an active household, that makes time seem to pass just a little quicker.
May was also a full month. Busy with work, busy with the end of the school year, busy with getting ready for a trip, and getting settled and caught up when we got home. But it was full and busy in a good way. I feel like I’m settling more into my routine and workflow more than I have in months. As always, though, there is so much I want to do and not enough time to do it in. I know I’m not the only one who feels perpetually against the clock.
Anyway, months that are full usually bring a lot of favorites along with them and this May was no different…
Of course, I loved the entire trip to Isle of Palms (you can read those posts HERE), but shelling was a highlight. We went every morning and a few times throughout the days and evenings when the tide was right. I enjoy the process of looking for shells just as much as finding good ones. I love the water lapping at my feet, the feeling of the sand between my toes, and the constant crash of the ocean waves. I like being slightly windblown and sunkissed. I become pretty much oblivious to everything but those sensations and the piles of shells washed on the shore. I don’t know if I would ever want to live on the ocean, but I always want to make regular trips to get my fill of walking in the surf.
Jeff introduced me to this app a long time ago, but over the past month, I’ve been making a point to listen to it every day. It’s part devotion, part guided prayer, and meditation, and it’s such a good way to start my day. I’m guessing it’s a British-based app based on the variety of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish accents who read and speak. In a way, that makes it even more fun to listen to! The central topics of the devotions are prayer, creativity, justice, hospitality, mission, and learning. Each devotion is accompanied by scripture reading, some thoughtful response questions, and a time to pause and pray. You can listen to the daily devotion or can go back through their library and listen to ones that speak to something happening in your life. If you prefer, you can read through the devotion instead of listening to it.
You can download the app for free from whatever app store you use.
I just finished reading the book Effortless right before we went on vacation. I loved Essentialism (also by Greg McKeown), so I was on board as soon as he came out with another book. While I think that Essentialism is a stronger book on the whole, Effortless is also wonderful and will have you rethinking the way you do things. In our culture today, we seem to celebrate hard. We wear it like a crown and put it on t-shirts. Doing hard things can be rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that everything has to be hard or anything worth doing is hard. If something is hard, does it really need to be?
This is a good book for anyone, but it’s particularly good for people who make things needlessly complicated or overthink habitually.
made you look
I think I watched this documentary on Netflix, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, Made You Look – A True Story About Fake Art was great. It was something I watched to pass the time when I was up late monitoring Calvin’s blood sugar and I was sucked in. Not only was it interesting to see how a team of three people were able to con experts into buying their fake art, but I learned all about catalogue raisonnés and the provenance of paintings. It really made me think about how I approach my own art. Should I be cataloging it? Should I take it more seriously than I do? Will it be worth more one day? I really don’t know who decides that or how that happens. It seems like it comes down to recognition from the right person or group of people, but it’s a bit of a mystery to me. This documentary pulled back the curtain a little bit and I found myself thinking about it days after I watched it.
trader joe’s mini chocolate chip ice cream cones
I know I’m not the only one who likes these because they fly out of our freezer drawer and they are out of stock half the time at Trader Joe’s. These are the mini chocolate chip ice cream cones called “Hold the Cone.” They are just the perfect size to hit that summer ice cream craving without being excessive. When we have them stocked, I’ll eat about one a day as a treat.
at first light
Our Barnes & Noble store recently rearranged, moving their art books to a section with a large display area. This book was on that display and I was immediately drawn to it. First of all, it’s blue. Second, I have never seen it before. Third, it’s about artists and their homes and studios! Does that sound like a book that’s perfect for me, or what? This book didn’t disappoint and I read through it several times already. It features a few of my favorites including Frank Benson & Fairfield Porter. Of course, it also features three of the Wyeths and introduced me to some more recent artists. It’s a beautiful book, even if you’re not into art.
I loved this image of Frank Benson’s studio. He used to wipe the extra paint from his brushes on the wall! I just might do that in my next studio!
Escape to the Country
If you’ve been watching Escape to the Country for decades then you’re going to wonder what rock I’ve been hiding under! I had never seen it, but with the acquisition of the Kitchin sketchbooks as well as discoveries of my own English roots, I’ve been more interested in historic English homes as well as getting more familiar with the geography of Britain. And this show is so good. I can’t wait until I can travel overseas again and this show is a little consolation.
Wild Mountain Thyme
Now that our boys are older, they are often outside with friends or doing an activity in the evening, so Jeff and I have been watching more movies together. A favorite that we watched recently was Wild Mountain Thyme. It is a very quirky movie, but we both ended up enjoying it thoroughly and feel like we need to watch it again to catch all of the nuances in the humor and the undercurrents of the story. Oh, and the farms and English cottages are lovely to look at. It’s available with a Hulu subscription now, but you can also rent and purchase it on iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Those were some of my favorite things in May. What were yours?