5 Quick Things #267 ❄️
winter walks, good farming, beauty making, & planets
I'm not gonna lie... My brain is fried this morning. At the moment I'm typing I've been working on this lovely letter for literal hours, and there's very little to show for it. It's not because I don't care — it's because I care too much. I know my readers are some of the most gracious, life-loving, beauty-seeking people out there, and you have a learner's posture about the world that I love to help cultivate alongside you. Yet I fear sometimes perfect is the enemy of the good this morning, and I need to lighten up and just enjoy writing and collecting this letter for you. It's truly one of my favorite things I do all week.
It's admittedly been a mentally heavy few weeks for me. Things are fine, the kids are great, and I'm grateful for so much (our subscriber Grat Chat this week truly buoyed me). But there's a lot I'm thinking about these days, particularly in my work as a teacher, and it's created a haze over other areas of life. I'm sure you've been there — you want to listen, learn, communicate, and make decisions in one area, which means other areas get the fragmented remains of your attention. …Perhaps this is simply my long-winded way of confessing to you that my kitchen is a mess.
No matter. I've got coffee next to me, my youngest is heading out the door for a field trip to a local museum with our co-op, my oldest is heading out soon after to her internship at a local medical clinic, and my middle guy plans to do his schoolwork at the library a few blocks away. I've got a day of writing ahead of me. Thank you, God, for days like today.
I hope you're doing well, friends. I'm grateful for you.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. “Like many mothers, I live on the narrow and winding boundary between what I once was and what I am becoming. I rarely just ‘am.’” This was a lovely, calming balm of a read that I resonated with and I bet you will, too — even though I don’t have a winter woods to walk through. (p.s. — I love the simple act of gleaning wisdom and encouragement from the offerings of others who may live differently than me.)
2. Even though it’s on a website about urban design and town infrastructure, I appreciated this essay about doing things — all things — afraid, especially the first two points. “The thing is, fear is telling a true story. Yes, failure is possible and that would be embarrassing and, yes, it’s extremely undesirable to try something if you don’t know what will happen. But fear will also leave out an important part of the story and fail to remind you that humans are extremely capable of coping with failure and uncertainty, extremely capable of learning and adjusting.”
3. “You cannot have freedom without participation.” I’m still listening to his lecture on local food this morning, but I’ve long admired farmer Joel Salatin ever since I saw him in Food, Inc. 15-ish years ago now (I bet I’m not alone there). Glad to see he’s still doing his admirable work.
4. Beauty matters on a wide, societal scale, and so does making beauty. We need to be people that actively make beauty.
5. And finally, last month an astronomer photographed five planets and the moon in one photograph from his home in Rome. Science, technology, nature, and people are cool.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (this will be a slow, savored read for me throughout this year)
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I'm 100 percent with you. As much as I appreciate the access to information I'd otherwise have to find another way, we have a pretty decent historical track record of people living just fine without the internet at instant access from our kitchen tables. (Though between the two, I much more loathe cars... I'd happily live in my small town with just a bike and use public transportation when I need to go into the city. Alas.)
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Have a good weekend,
p.s. This still makes me laugh.
Your honesty is appreciated! Even during mentally heavy days, your vulnerability and perspective are relatable. You welcome us into your world regardless of the state of it, and that's an important aspect of hospitality. I'm glad to know that compiling 5 Quick Things is one of your favorite parts of your week, because reading it is something I look forward to each week. I usually wait until Saturday morning, when I can sit down with granola and coffee to savor the most recent eclectic treasures you've found in cyberspace. I love that the newsletter is so much more than a list -- your introductory thoughts, thoughtful questions of the week, and clever polls have created a rhythm that has become dear to me. Keep up the inspiring work.
Such a good one! Thank you for all of your efforts! This is one email I will ALWAYS open :)