Creating a Sense of Sanctuary

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Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

There are no intrinsically sacred objects or experiences; they are made sacred by the special context that we give them.

-Louise Thomsen Brits, The Book of Hygge

Now more than ever we all need a sanctuary, a refuge from the world, a safe place to reflect and restore.  But the word sanctuary implies more than just a safe space or refuge.  It suggests reverence.  Holiness.  A sense of the sacred.  When we think about our homes in the context of creating sanctuary, we see the value of a living space that is simple, comfortable and cared for, a space that is ready to calm and nurture those who enter.  When we bring this sense of sanctuary to the seemingly mundane details of our daily lives, the ordinary has the potential to take on new meaning.  A morning cup of coffee in our favorite mug suddenly becomes a quiet, restorative ritual to start the day.  Our favorite corner of the sofa is transformed into a cozy writing nest to contemplate and dream.  Preparing dinner becomes a sensory meditation.  As we infuse our lives with a new awareness and appreciation for the everyday moments, we create sanctuary for ourselves and those we love by elevating the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The creation of sanctuary is an intentional practice, a willingness to make room for and find the sacred in the everyday.  Here are a few ideas for how to begin creating a sense of sanctuary in your own life:

  1. Make Space.  It can be difficult to cultivate the sacred in the everyday when we are buried in clutter or an over-scheduled calendar.  Clear out and simplify.  Make room in your home and your planner for a more intentional, well-lived life, for what nourishes and sustains you.
  2. Own a few small, well-chosen items that comfort and delight. A warm blanket, a favorite mug, a pen that flows effortlessly across the pages of your journal…sometimes it’s the small luxuries that become talismans of comfort, familiarity and meaning in our daily round.
  3. Slow down. Our lives move at the speed of light.  How many times have you thought to yourself on a Thursday evening, “I can’t believe it’s Friday already tomorrow!  Where did the week go!?”  We can live our whole lives this way if we aren’t paying attention, racing unconsciously through our days, just managing to get by.  This kind of living is simply skimming the surface. We are not immersing ourselves in the richness that is right in front of us.  As a way to counter this pace, practice doing things SLOWLY on purpose.  Take a stroll through the neighborhood.  Not a power walk, but an easy stroll.  Prepare dinner at a leisurely pace.  Linger over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  Luxuriate in a hot bath rather than take a quick shower.  Take up an activity in which success depends on time and patience, sourdough bread baking, for example.
  4. Unplug. We don’t cultivate the depth and richness of life by staring at a screen.  We need to be wholly available to participate with our environment and the people in it in order to notice and appreciate our everyday experience, at least for a little while each day.  Be gentle with yourself on this one…unplugging from a virtual world and plugging into our real one with all of its messiness and the possibility of boredom isn’t easy.  Start small if you need to by setting aside designated times where you don’t check your phone.  Having a no device time before, during and after dinner is a great place to start.
  5. Engage with your senses. We can come back to the wholeness of the moment, to the beauty of the here and now just by really seeing, smelling, touching, hearing and tasting what is right in front of us.  This is why cooking is such an extraordinary activity for discovering the sacred in the seemingly mundane tasks of daily life.  The smell of garlic sautéing in olive oil, the bright orange flesh of the squash we are cutting into cubes, the softness of a plush Colorado peach in late summer.  Cooking offers so many wonderful opportunities to stop and take in a moment of sensory wonder and appreciation for the everyday gifts that are right in front of us.
  6. Don’t just eat dinner…dine. Find a bit of ceremony in your day where you can.  Light candles at the dinner table, lay down some placemats and cloth napkins and open a bottle of wine.  Not only will you invite a sense of the sacred to your meal, research suggests that gathering around the table at the end of the day is a source of social connection and an important aspect of our physical health.  In his book, How to Make Disease Disappear, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee talks about what life was like when humans existed in hunter-gatherer tribes.  After the sun went down, these early humans shifted their activities and conversation from the work of finding food to telling one another stories around the campfire.  “The researches call this ‘firelight talk.’  It’s a time of calmness, reflection and-perhaps most importantly-connection.”  We are wired to reflect, connect and find meaning in our existence by sharing our stories, the happenings of our day, with those around us.  “In the modern West, the table rather than the campfire is where our connection, or our ‘firelight talk,’ happens.”  Elevate mealtime to a higher plane by realizing that this is where we strengthen our sacred connection to one other….especiallyon an ordinary Wednesday night over meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
  7. Bookend Your Day with Rituals for Reflection. For me this means meditation and journaling.  But it could just be a simple quiet moment with your cup of coffee in the morning before your day begins.  Taking even a few moments before the day gets away from you to quietly center yourself is invaluable.  You will enter the morning in a more intentional, peaceful frame of mind.  In Circle of Stones, author Judith Duerk tells the story of a woman who lights a candle when she first wakes up for a brief ritual of quiet presence:

    “as long as I take time every morning to light a candle to my life, it remains my life.  But if I hurry into work without that small moment of quiet, then I’ve already lost myself, and the day.  The task, for me, is to care, daily, for myself and my life….to love and to nurture, within myself, moment by moment, the quality of quiet presence, quietly being present to my life, which sanctifies it…to live as if the candle is lighted.

    Likewise, take time to assess the day and find gratitude for the moments that touched your soul in some way, especially the small ones.  This is an excellent way to thoughtfully and intentionally shift into the evening hours.

Rest and restore in the sanctuary of everyday moments. Our lives are abundant in the ordinary, and it can be a profound gateway to something greater if we simply shift our perception a little.  The depth and meaning we seek in life is often not found in the big things….the parties, weddings, promotions and extravagant vacations.  Instead, we can find richness in our lives right where we are as we practice taking pleasure in the everyday stuff of life.

Simple Seasonal Pleasures for October

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Welcome October!  My favorite month of the year.  It’s been cold and rainy here in Nebraska, and no one seems to be complaining.  The sky hangs heavy with low gray clouds, and the leaves are just beginning to turn.  I’ve put away the summer clothes and unpacked the sweaters and scarves.  I just made the first batch of chili of the year.  Finally, the time for coziness and inner warmth is here.

  1.  Visit an apple orchard.  Here in Omaha we are fortunate to live near Nebraska City (it’s where Arbor Day originated, if you weren’t aware), which is home to several apple orchards.  In addition to stocking up on apples, we will stuff ourselves with warm apple cider doughnuts and buy a gallon of cider to take home and make this apple cider cocktail.  One of my favorites!
  2. Pack a fall picnic.  There is something about having a picnic on a crisp fall day that is utterly charming.  A plaid blanket and a thermos full of a hearty, soul-warming soup are essential!
  3. Read a scary or witchy novel.  I love snuggling up with a good scary story this time of year.  Some of my past October reads have been DraculaSalem’s Lot, and the Dark Witch trilogy by Nora Roberts.  This year it is Beneath a Blood Red Moon by Shannon Drake.
  4. Bake pumpkin bread.  Such a delicious quick breakfast or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea.  This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is my favorite.
  5. Take walks in the crisp leaves.  I love the sound of fallen leaves crunching under my feet!
  6. The smell of woodsmoke.  As the evenings get chillier and people begin using their fireplaces and wood stoves again, the woodsy scent of smoke rising from the chimneys around the neighborhood evokes such a sense of warmth and coziness.
  7. Honor my ancestors.  The timing of Halloween coincides with several ancient holidays and festivals which not only marked the halfway point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, but also served as an opportunity for people to remember ancestors and departed loved ones (The Day of the Dead in Mexico, All Souls’ Day in the Christian tradition, the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Norse festival of Winternights).  It was believed that the veil between the world of the living and the ancestral realm was particularly thin at this point in the year.  Whether or not you believe there are thin places in the year in which we are closer to the spiritual realm, it is lovely to have a time set aside for honoring and remembering our ancestors.  A great place to do this is in the kitchen, of course!  This month I will make my dad’s famous pasta dish (simply known as “The Dish” at our house…it was that good) and my great-grandmother’s Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger snaps).  Cooking and baking are tangible, delicious ways to connect with our ancestors.
  8. Let go of what no longer serves.  I’m taking a cue from the falling leaves this month and letting go.  Letting go of clutter, jewelry, clothes, shoes, books, ideas, beliefs, habits, relationships, commitments….ANYTHING that isn’t serving me.  My very wise friend, Siobhan, who happens to be a very talented life coach, has proclaimed October the month of letting go.  Why?  In Siobhan’s words, “to create the space I need to be more ME.”  YES.  It’s amazing how both mental and physical clutter can stand in the way of our authenticity.  And so I will clear out the closets and the garage.  I will go through the kitchen cupboards and drawers.  I will journal my way past beliefs and ideas that are no longer helpful.  I feel lighter and more spacious just thinking about it!
  9. Watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”  Whether you have kids or not, you are never too old for this sweet little Halloween special.

A very happy October to you!  I hope you find your own simple ways to make it special.

Saying Yes to the Sourdough Life

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Last weekend, I had the privilege of teaching eight lovely women how to bake sourdough bread.  I absolutely adore teaching these workshops.  The participants are always so enthusiastic and willing to get their hands right in the dough (which is exactly what we do….no mixers here!)  We cover a lot of ground in a three hour span, basically a Sourdough 101, and everyone leaves with two loaves of bread ready to put in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the morning, along with a sourdough starter of their own to feed and nurture so that they can continue baking bread in their own kitchens.  Sourdough bread instruction tends to be very technical and intimidating.  My approach to teaching it is to make it fun and inviting.  Baking sourdough bread should not be an activity reserved only for those who love hydration percentages and baker’s math.  It’s for everyone who is willing to say “yes” to the sourdough life.

Those who show up at my workshops willing to say a hearty “yes” to this way of life bring with them so many reasons for wanting to do so:

I need something creative, just for me.

I love the idea of doing something real, with my hands.

I don’t even eat bread but I want to make this for my family.

I want to know what’s going in to the bread I eat.

Each one on their own path but wanting to enhance their lives by giving themselves over to this ancient, creative practice.  It is a beautiful thing, this sharing of the sourdough life, and I am grateful to be able to do it.

What is the sourdough life?  It is a commitment to nurturing a living ecosystem, the sourdough starter, that is your partner in the baking process.  It is a willingness to be present for your sourdough starter when it needs your attention, which at first is as often as twice a day.  It is an opportunity to dance with the ancient rhythms of life and nature that are inherent in the baking of sourdough bread.   It is a intentional slowing down to an unhurried pace that runs counter to almost every aspect of the modern world.  It is a surrendering of control and an opportunity to simply allow things to happen in their own good time.  It is a creative ritual that brings a sense of simplicity, connection and well-being into our lives.  Oh, and there’s the reward of the bread itself….fragrant, warm and rustic, unlike anything you would find in the grocery store.  And you made it with your own two hands with a simple combination of flour, water and salt.

My introduction to this life came in culinary school, three years ago.  I had just gone through a divorce and was faced with the prospect of what was next for me.  I had been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years.  What would I do to support myself?  Before I had children, I had been a practicing attorney.  A very unhappy one.  I wasn’t too excited about returning to that career path, but I investigated my options, networked with my former colleagues and went on some interviews.  In the end, I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put myself back in that toxic environment.  So I went to culinary school instead.  It was something I had always wanted to do, cooking and baking had been long-standing passions in my life.  Artisan Breads was known as a demanding class, but I absolutely loved it, particularly the sourdough aspect of it.  I fed my starter religiously, even taking him with me on vacations.  After the class ended, I continued to bake on my own and even considered the prospect of owning my own bakery for awhile.  The more I baked the more bread I gave away to friends and family.  They began asking if I could show them how to make it themselves, and so the workshop was born.

Now I write, teach yoga and journaling classes, and host bread baking workshops.  A far cry from my lawyering days and not nearly as lucrative, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I don’t know where this journey will take me next, but I do know that settling into this ancient practice of sourdough bread baking has changed me.  Yes, it can be a bit of an ordeal to create a starter, to continue to nurture and feed it, to plan ahead so that your bread has enough time to ferment in the refrigerator before baking.  It’s so much easier to just buy bread from the store!  But the results of your efforts are well worth it, both in terms of the rewards of the creative process and the delicious bread itself.

Consider saying “yes” to the sourdough life, to dedicating yourself to a practice that grounds, delights and nourishes on so many levels.  Come to a workshop or read a book on the topic (I recommend Sourdough by Sarah Owens).  Simply begin by creating your own starter and see where that takes you.  I will follow up this post with instructions for beginning your own starter, but if you can’t wait, there are plenty of resources on the internet for getting started.  The good people at www.kingarthurflour.com are always a good and reliable source.

 

Simple Seasonal Pleasures for September

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Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Finally, after one of the hottest summers I can remember, the days and nights are beginning to cool down.  Humidity levels drop, and the air has a crisp clarity to it, bringing the world into sharper focus.  Greens slowly turn into gold, orange and deep red.  There is a sense of anticipation and aliveness as the seasons change and we begin turning inward towards fall.

1. Celebrate what feels like a new beginning.  As I wrote about here, for many reasons September 1 feels like my New Year’s Day.  I will take some time with my journal to give thanks, reassess and make resolutions for the year ahead.

2. Put the winter squash from the garden to good use.  We have a bumper crop of winter squash this year!  Butternut squash risotto with bacon and sage, pizza with roasted squash and caramelized onions and my favorite squash soup are all on the menu this month.

3.  Light the first indoor wood fire of the year.  We have a little wood stove in the corner of our living room that has been patiently waiting since April to be of use again.  Hopefully we will have a chilly morning or two towards the end of the month that will require a little fire to get things warm and cozy.

4.  Apples!  As we sadly say goodbye to peach season for another year, we welcome apples back into our kitchen.  They are obviously delicious as is, but I will find an opportunity to make a tarte tatin (upside down French apple tart) at lease once this month.

5.  A cozy wrap for chilly mornings and evenings.  Dressing comfortably at this time of year is a challenge….chilly mornings give way to warm days leaving me too hot or too cold at some point.  Enter the wrap!  Stylish in a way the a cardigan is not and almost like a socially acceptable way of wearing a blanket out into the world, the wrap is the obvious answer to this dilemma.  I bought a cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill several years back and it is still as lovely as ever.  A worthwhile investment.

6.  Football games.  Nebraskans take their college football very seriously!  While I am not the world’s biggest Husker fan, I do love game day rituals….tailgating, drinking beer at ungodly hours (I am the world’s worst day drinker, by the way), the wafting scent of brats, burgers and all things grilled.  And there is something about the sound of a football game that brings me back to cozy fall days growing up in Minnesota.  Kids played football at the park near our house, and the sound of the whistle blowing and crowds cheering could be heard from our open windows on cool fall evenings.  And every Sunday, my dad would build a fire in the family room fireplace and we would watch the Vikings play.  We did not always do much together as a family, but I still associate watching football games on TV with warmth, coziness and family togetherness.

7.  Mrs. Myers Clean Day Apple Cider Scented Products.  On Labor Day weekend, I will head to Target and buy enough of these delightful products to see me through the end of the year.  It is a small indulgence, to be sure, but to have the tiny zing of sensory pleasure every time I wash my hands, clean the kitchen or do the dishes is absolutely worth it.  And no, I’m not getting paid for this endorsement.  I’m just a big fan!

8.  Decorate with pumpkins, leaves and gourds.  Tomatoes and corn will give way to pumpkins, gourds and winter squash at the farm stand this month.  I will buy a few for our dining room table and living room for a little natural seasonal decor.  As the fall colors begin making their debut, I will collect leaves on my walks around the neighborhood and press them in between the pages of a heavy book before scattering them here and there around the house.

9.   Stock the freezer with homemade chicken or vegetable stock.  It is officially the start of soup season!  Soups are infinitely better if they begin with the solid foundation of homemade stock.  I will use my recipe for chicken stock…easy, versatile and classic.  I may also make a simple vegetable stock as well.  My future self will be so grateful!

10.  Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox on Saturday, September 22.  We will light candles and have a celebratory feast featuring fall produce to mark this special time of the year when day and night are nearly equal in length.  It is also a good day to contemplate the role of balance in our lives….what do I need more or less of right now in order to feel centered and grounded?  I will take a little time in my cozy writing space with my journal to explore this topic.

Sending you love and hoping you dive deep into your simple seasonal pleasures this September!

Happy New Year!

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“It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants.  What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you’re leading?” –Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

September 1 is my New Year’s Day.  Rather than feeling depleted and weary as I often do when January 1 rolls around, I feel more alive than ever as summer shifts into fall.  It’s a day for new beginnings, authentic resolutions, and tapping into the energy of harvest and change that flows into our lives in September.

Where does this surge of creative energy come from?  Maybe it’s because September coincides with the start of a new school year or because the earth’s energy is shifting from the outward (spring and summer) to the inward (fall and winter).  Maybe it’s because this has traditionally been a month of harvest and so it feels natural to assess and be grateful for what we have and to look forward to what’s ahead.  Whatever the reason, September is an excellent time to contemplate creative new beginnings.  Take some time today or tomorrow and snuggle into a cozy writing space with your journal and a pen.  Acknowledge and celebrate the seeds you have planted and what you have harvested over the past year.  Consider what’s working in your life right now and what’s not.  Explore the desires and longings of your authentic self and set your resolutions for the coming year.

As Sarah Ban Breathnach points out in her book, Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, “the beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows that we are making them.”  There is no pressure to share your resolutions with anyone, and they can be absolutely anything that speaks to your soul and feels right for you in this moment.  Think of September 1 as a quiet opportunity to reassess and return to your true nature, to whatever “simply true north” is for you.  Happy New Year!

Eating in a Wide Open Space

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Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.  When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.

-Rumi

The picture above is of a chocolate croissant from Le Quartier bakery here in Omaha.  It is one of my favorite things in the whole world.  Buttery, flaky layers of laminated dough encasing batons of dark chocolate.  With a cup of creamy coffee this makes for one amazing breakfast.  I don’t eat these very often, maybe once a month or so.  But when I do it will be with my full presence and appreciation.  Not an ounce of guilt in sight.

I have learned over the years, particularly through my relationship with food, that my soul prefers the wide open spaces.  Once I start placing restrictions and limitations on what I can and can’t eat, my soul forcefully pushes back.  I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your own life.  As soon as you say, “I’m not eating any more cookies”, all you can think about is cookies.  And the next thing you know you just ate half a box of stale Oreos from the back of the kitchen cupboard, and you don’t even really like Oreos.

Staying in this wide open space has become even more difficult in recent years as it seems everyone is seeking a label for the way they eat:  Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free.  There is always someone somewhere proclaiming that their way of eating is the best way, and they’ve got the science to prove it.  Never before have we as a culture felt so pressured to choose a particular restrictive diet to the exclusion of everything else.  I think there are many reasons for this:  an overwhelming amount of conflicting information about what we should and shouldn’t eat, a lack of a unifying cultural diet that has been passed down from generation to generation (think of the enduring legacy of the French or Italian diet, for example), a lack of fundamental cooking skills, and the desire to be a part of something larger than ourselves and to find an outward identity of sorts through what we eat.

But here is a radical notion:  What if, instead of giving our power away to the “experts” out there trying to tell us what is best, we trusted our own experience with food and let ourselves be intuitively led to the best choices for us?  In his insightful book, No Recipe, Edward Espe Brown says:

“When it comes to eating, we frequently have things backward.  We put a high value on obedience, while putting little value on permission and empowerment….The implicit assumption we often make is that we could never figure out anything for ourselves, so we better do what those who really know tell us.  Although that is sometimes called eating wisely, how wise is it to abandon your capacity to find out?  Do they know you as you know you?  How could they possibly have a formula that matches your uniqueness, your capacity to taste and experience, to explore and play, to enjoy and savor?”

When we eat from a wide open space, from a place of permission and empowerment, we make choices based on how foods taste to us, how we enjoy them and, most importantly, how they make us feel.  This requires us to be present and pay attention while we eat, a difficult task in our modern, fast-paced world.  It may also require that we get into the kitchen and learn some basic cooking techniques so that we can explore and play with food in our own space and on our own terms.  It may very well be that, upon your own experimentation, you find that you feel better when you eat meat, or when you eat a lot of vegetables, or that bread doesn’t agree with you.  The subtle nuances of YOUR diet can be unique, discovered through your own senses, through taste and experience, rather than through a blind adherence to an eating plan that is outside of yourself.  How we eat is yet another facet of our authenticity, an aspect of our lives in which we must align our inner knowing and experience to our outward actions.

We can reframe the way we think about food and eating so that it becomes, first and foremost, an intuitive and intimate act of self-care.  It just takes a little curiosity and a willingness to slow down and pay attention to what you enjoy and how you feel.  We all deserve to be nourished and experience the pleasure of food on our own terms.  Trust that you know more than you think you do.  Give yourself permission to eat in a wide open space.  I will see you there…I’ll be the one eating the chocolate croissant.

Simple Seasonal Pleasures for August

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While the warmth of summer continues, there is an undeniable shift in the air.  Autumn is just around the corner.  The days are noticeably shorter, children go back to school (at least they do where I live), and life starts to settle back into a more grounded routine.

  1. Harness that back-to-school energy and get organized.  My kids go back to school in two short weeks!  As they buy school supplies and get organized for the coming year, I find it’s good for me to do the same:  time to clean out my desk, restock paper and pens, clear out documents I no longer need in my files or on my computer, go through the photos on my phone and back them up or delete what I don’t need, reassess creative projects I’ve been working on.  Back-to-school time should feel like a fresh start for everyone, adults (with our without children) included.
  2. The return of ritual and routine.  Summer is a free-for-all…some lazy days at home, week-long camps, vacations, carpooling kids here and there for summer activities.  Routine is largely out the door for the months of June and July.  While this carefree living has its own appeal, I love settling back in to the school year, welcoming grounding routines and rituals back into our lives.  This is a great time to reconsider your everyday rituals and routines…what is serving you and what isn’t?  Perhaps you need a new morning ritual to get you started off on the right foot (see mine in number 4 below).  Or maybe you don’t like the way you are rushing around just before dinner and want a better routine around preparing your evening meal (me!)  Take a little time to write in your journal about the role that ritual and routine plays in your daily life and how you may want to shift yours in order to better support and care for yourself.
  3. A bike ride or walk with the dogs before dinner.  There are times during June and July when an evening bike ride or stroll isn’t even an option due to the sun and heat.  Now, as the days grow shorter, we can take advantage of the cooler evenings and get out for a little exercise before dinner.
  4. Quiet and solitude.  With the kids back in school, there is a welcome hush that comes over the house around 7:45 a.m. each day.  I love my children dearly, but I also love my solitude.  I plan to soak up these quiet moments first thing in the morning with coffee and my journal on the back porch.  You can keep your early morning workout or jog around the park, as lovely as I’m sure that is.  THIS is my idea of the perfect morning ritual.
  5. More porch time. More coffee, more glasses of wine, more meals on the porch as we wind down the season of outdoor living.
  6. Celebrate Lammas by baking bread.  It’s easy to forget that the grains we eat are grown in the ground and harvested just like corn, squash and tomatoes.  By the time we purchase a bag of flour at the store, it hardly resembles the wheat it once was.  Lammas is an ancient harvest celebration taking place around August 1 that marks the first harvest of grain of the season.  Literally translated as “loaf mass”, people would celebrate Lammas by baking a loaf of bread from the first crop of wheat and bringing it to church as an offering of thanks.   This is such a lovely reminder of the preciousness of the grains we rely on as part of our daily sustenance, and a great excuse to bake a loaf of bread from scratch in your own kitchen this month.
  7. Reread an old favorite.  This month I will reread A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh as I do every year around this time.  This summer marks the 20 year anniversary of this book coming into my life.  It’s one of my favorites, and it’s perfect for the month of August as it is a book of meditations written on a summer sojourn to the ocean.  Have you read it?  Do you have a favorite book you enjoy returning to again and again?
  8. Make a batch of homemade ice cream.  We have not had the ice cream maker out all summer.  Better late than never!
  9. Eat as many peaches as is humanly possible.
  10. Listen to the changing sounds in the neighborhood.  Kids walking to and from school, the marching band practicing in the mornings, high school football games on Friday nights.  With school back in session, everything changes, including the sounds around the neighborhood.  What new sounds are you noticing this month?

So much love to you as you make this August uniquely yours with your own simple seasonal pleasures!