A monthly newsletter to support and inspire your #HeartspokenLife. May’s theme is “Bloom where you’re planted.” [Reading time under 5 minutes].
May 11, 2019
What’s going on at Riverwood
Wildflowers are popping out everywhere here in the northern Shenandoah Valley! Every time I take a walk, I see something new. Above is a collage of the pictures I’ve snapped on my phone over the last two weeks.
Except for the walnut trees, all the other trees in my yard are in full leaf now. From Black Bear Road, we can no longer see through the leafy canopy to the river.
From our sunroom, for several weeks, we’ve had our eye on a pair of Cooper’s Hawks nesting high up in a large pine tree. Yesterday, my husband came excitedly to my office door with binoculars in hand. “Come see!” Squirming in the nest were at least two adorable fuzzy nestlings, squawking to be fed. Welcome to the world, little birdies!
Happy birthday today to my brother, Jim Herbert. He can take consolation that no matter how old he gets, I’ll always be two years older!
What’s going on in your part of the world? Send me a photo (elizabethc (at) heartspoken (dot) com) so I can post it to the Heartspoken Facebook page. Be sure to include where you were when you took the photo.
✧ NORTH—Faith: Beware the “out there” myth
It’s so tempting to think that a better relationship with God or more spiritual maturity can be found “out there” somewhere. Surely the next book, the next inspiring speaker, the next course will reveal all the secrets. My bookshelf is proof that I fall victim to this mentality all the time.
I see folks leaving a church because they think it doesn’t “feed them” or, more likely because the liturgy or the sermons or the activities aren’t exactly what they want. Restlessness can certainly be “holy restlessness”—God’s way of nudging us out of our comfort zone. But so often it comes from a misguided notion that the better “thing” is elsewhere instead of right where we are.
My Dad used to say, “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” Before you set off on a goose chase looking for happiness “out there,” take a deep breath, seriously count your blessings, open your heart and mind and ask God, “What would you have me do right here, right now?”
You might be surprised to find what you were looking for—or something even better—is closer than you think.
✧ SOUTH—Connection: The multiplier effect of working together
I was inspired by this article from the “Marc & Angel Hack Life” blog called “How Small People Create Massive, Life-Changing Results.” Here’s the gist of it from Marc:
“One person without help from anyone else can’t do much to make a sizable difference in this crazy world—or to overcome all of the various forms of repression that exist today. But when people get together and unite to form something more powerful and meaningful than themselves, the possibilities are endless. Together is how mountains are moved. Together is how small people create massive, life-changing results.”
He also quoted Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
What dream do you have that could be achieved more easily with teamwork?
✧ EAST—Self-Awareness: Let it go and let it be
Unrealistic “to do” lists…
At best, these can be aggravating. At worst, they can negatively impact our sleep, our mental clarity, and our overall health. I’ve found two practices that have really helped me. One is meditation. I don’t do this perfectly at all, and if I meditate four days out of seven, I’ve done well, but I am absolutely sure it has helped me make space in my head where these negative thoughts can be acknowledged and then allowed to float away like a cloud. The second is learning about the philosophy of the Stoics and reading the short meditations in The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Steve Hanselman every day. One of the key teachings of Stoicism is to focus on what you can control and let the rest go.
I’m reminded of the moving lyrics of the beloved song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (full lyrics HERE):
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be
Easy to say…hard to do…but very powerful.
✧ WEST–Nature: Bloom where you’re planted
From every crack and crevice, nature seems to be popping out. My perennials are pushing up from well-cultivated soil, but the emerging life is no less amazing from rocky ground or from between the bricks of our patio (see right). Even a fallen log in the woods is teeming with life. Fungi and mushrooms grow in the unlikeliest places. When high winds knock down their nests (or pesky humans pull their nesting material out of the mailbox), birds persevere until they can bring forth young into the world. Everywhere we look, we can learn this important lesson: bloom where you’re planted. We humans have the luxury of moving to a different environment, and while sometimes that’s necessary, at other times we should first ask ourselves, “What am I meant to do right here, right now?”
Bloom where you’re planted.
What I’m loving right now: A nature identification app called SEEK
When I posted a flower photo to Facebook recently and asked for help identifying it, Holly Sihler Sharp told me about an app she uses called Seek by iNaturalist. I immediately downloaded it and have had a ball using it to identify flowers, birds, and other natural wonders. It doesn’t always get it right, though usually, it will tell me at least what family it’s in. You can either snap a photo from inside the app or use a photo in your phone that you’ve already taken. Just for fun, I asked it to identify a photo of our friend George Mobley. “Human,” the app advised me. I’m sure George will be glad to know he’s been properly ID’d.
This month’s recipe pivots from healthy to rich and delicious and a taste of the tropics. My mother copied this recipe down from a radio show, so our family has dubbed it “Radio Coconut Cake” ever since. I’ve posted the recipe HERE. Check out all the Heartspoken recipes HERE.
Please share your favorite recipe on the Heartspoken Facebook page.
Did you miss any of these recent posts from my Heartspoken blog?
The words someone speaks just before they die can be profound. On Good Friday, I explored the last words Jesus imparted to his followers before he was crucified and shared a new Good Friday tradition my friend Mary Hoerr taught me.
I shared a video of Dolly Parton singing “He’s Alive!” This song, written by Don Francisco, captures the fear and guilt Peter must have felt at the Crucifixion and the incredible joy of Easter morning.
…Because, as Oscar Wilde so aptly put it, “Everyone else is already taken.” Claim your power and value and then watch the magic happen.
Besides seeing a picture of my bookshelf, this quick video tells you about the new “Reading Room” page at Heartspoken where I share my personal reading spreadsheet that includes links to the books and to my reviews, when available. Or skip the guide and go straight to the Reading Room.
Encouragement, tips, quotes, reflections, and resources for Faithful Writers everywhere. If you’d like to get the Faithful Writers Toolkit newsletter in your own Inbox each month, join the list HERE.
This post shines a spotlight on the work of Paloma Teppa, a young Argentina-born entrepreneur in Miami who is making the world she wants by connecting her clients with Nature.
If you haven’t read this yet, put it on your list for a delicious summer reading experience. Click HERE or on the book cover image below to buy it on Amazon.
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“Every flower must grow through dirt” ~Laurie Jean Sennott
“It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done.” ~Matthew Arnold
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See you in June. The theme will be “Mid-year Check-up,” and I’ll be taking a look at my “19 for 2019” list I made in January to see how well I’m doing.
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P.P.P.S. You’re invited to join one or both of my Facebook groups:
- Faithful Writers – for those of any faith tradition who feel called to use their gift of writing in service to God
- Revive the art of personal note writing! We explore and share all things related to personal handwritten notes and letters.