I feel incredibly guilty for abandoning books for most of my adult life. They were forced down our throats with such frequency in school and, sadly enough, my first reaction to force is usually rebellion. Though I truly loved works like The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, and even Taming of the Shrew, Homer's The Odyssey ruined it all for me. It was the first semester of ninth grade honors English, and our teacher told us to start reading. Had I any clue she would give us a pop quiz on the book bi-weekly and it would consume what felt like the entire first semester, I might have actually read the book Cliff's Notes. I had opened it and attempted to read it the first week of the assignment, but I just couldn't make it past the first few pages. I couldn't. I hated it. Ever since, I avoided books and even laughed at the whole concept of reading. Who had time for that? I'd rather be out living my life, thank you very much.
I'm not quite sure what just happened. I think I just became a bird watcher. ?? I'm pleased my nerd status has been elevated. Although, I didn't see this coming. Do we suddenly have more birds pecking the ground? Is it because of the bird feeders? Are they here all year round? Am I only noticing them now because of the bare winter branches? Or am I just changing, still discovering what makes me tick, and morphing? Who knows?
This past winter has almost made meteorologists lose all credibility with me. They downplay forecasts, assuring us there's no need to worry; other times they use mother nature as a pawn in their never ending, fear-mongering game known to us as the "news". The last two storms we've had in north Texas were minimized. The former nudged us to try something new. Baby Girl came home from preschool with half an ear of corn dipped in bird seed that week. Little Girl was jealous, of course. So I referred to my favorite search engine, Pinterest, and got some ideas to make bird feeders of our own on what might be a snow an ice day.
When winter weather is en route to Texas (with the exception of the panhandle), everyone panics. I never did until I became a mom. I stop everything, make several lists, and spend an afternoon filling the car with supplies. If it wasn't for the storm a few years ago which unexpectedly imprisoned us for almost a week, I probably wouldn't worry much. Now the fear creeps in and I panic. As the ice finally arrives, I make myself comfortable in the kitchen and cook and entertain my little heart out. Ice days are some of my most treasured moments in this chaotic stage of life because I'm forced to slow down.
Just when the dishes are done and the laundry is finished (sort of), I have about thirty minutes to lay lifeless in bed and stare at the tv while my husband and I chat about how cute the girls were that day. Then, it starts all over the next morning. The hair tugging and teeth brushing, trying to find the missing sock, shoe, or stuffed animal, fighting over everything from a chair to sunlight, and constantly struggling to place just the right food in front of them at just the right time all begins again. It's near impossible to complete a task, process information, or have an intellectual conversation. Luckily, sometimes our world is forced to slow down.
Last I wrote the chilly waves had rushed over me. I didn't escape the discomfort immediately. I stayed. I waited. The shock from the frigid water altered my lenses. I stayed longer. I waited some more. I turned my back to the bleakness of the ocean and fixed my eyes on the sand. Strings of colorful bulbs left glowing kisses on the shore. The whispers of the stars outlined the tree tops. I never would have noticed this light had I not jumped in and I wouldn't have been reminded of a lingering hope I had spent years trying to forget.
It's that time of year again- a time to spread love, to splurge on flowers, to indulge in sweets, and to appreciate the special ones in our lives. I've been wanting to extend my gratitude with a giveaway for a while now. And with Valentine's Day and International Book Giving Day falling on the same date, I chose today!