That Sounds Fun

It’s now been over a year since we were introduced to the infamous Corona virus, the dreaded Covid-19. The global menace of 2020. We’ve had time to reflect, contest, converse and contemplate all that we hold dear and special. Toilet paper notwithstanding. Annie F. Downs is no exception to those things, either. In her latest book, That Sounds Fun, she, too, reflects on her past experiences in light of the mix of her new experiences. What then, does it all mean in God’s plan? It’s a delightful compilation of thoughts and experiences from Downs’ life. Although this thirty-some-thing-single-Tennessee-gal is “embarrassingly easy to find” on the internet, she’s new to me. She currently hosts a podcast called “That Sounds Fun” and her book is an extention of that work. Now that I have read this book, I am eager to get a hold of her “100 Days to Brave”…especially in light of my #wordoftheyear. Downs also has her first children’s book due out in fall 2021. But let’s get back to the current. Here’s her little promotional to wet your appetite:

via YOUTUBE

Much like mittonmusings.com, Annie’s book is a collection of thoughts, gathered under three general premises: The Joys of Being an Amateur, The Power of Falling in Love, and Why you Need a Hobby. Her writing is witty, and well, “fun”, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Dotted throughout the book are lists of what her fans also think is “fun” and truly reflect what the world began to hold dear in this global pandemic: visits with friends, teaching and mentoring the younger generation, learning from the older, travel and family. These are the things that Downs calls our “return to Eden” moments. The pieces of our heart that are shaped by God’s perfect plan and what He originally intended for us as humans… connection and meaningful relationships, including bringing Glory to God through our actions and experiences.

Annie is openly personal in her conversations, and shares both her joys and sorrows. I was particularly touched by her story about Helen. If you know me, and read the book, you’ll see why. She shares her struggles about being single, her allergies, and I love how she has named the places she has lived. What would you name the place you are currently living in? Mine might just have to be the Castle of Chaos. She reminises about times spent on her grandma’s porch snapping beans… her little moment of childhood Eden. Country girl, indeed.

Originally, I picked this book for my bookshelf based on my thoughts about “fun”. My ideas of fun are vastly different from the thoughts my husband has, different from what my children find fun, and different from what many of my friends deem “fun”. I was looking to validate my own activities, and to trust that God made me special. In some ways, she does. God’s plans for Annie F. Downs are not the same for me. They are not the same for you, either. Does God want us to have some “fun” along the way? Of course. Maybe we could sum it up in this quote near the end of the book:

“So chase the fun, friend. Go after it. Find what sounds fun to you, and you will find what you are really looking for. Maybe you will find it in the places where you are an amateur (aren’t you glad to be an amateur!) maybe you will find it in love (I hope you are in love); or maybe you’ll find it that hobby you just found or returned to.”

Annie F. Downs in “That Sounds Fun” p.223-224

Have fun today, my friends.

Hidden in Your Heart (or Dessert)

I am terrible at memorizing. Always have been. When I had to study notes and diagrams for school, I would make up jingles and word acronyms and the like to keep all the parts I needed to know in my head. I’m a visual learner and “see” what I need to remember… mostly. How about you, my friend? Are you good at keeping things in your brain and remembering them “by heart”? I’m a visual learner, but by no means do I have a “photographic memory”. Somedays I wish I did… but, I guess my brain is too full of other stuff to keep all that information up there. So, I write it down. Lists are my friend. Sticky notes are even more special.

The hubby is good at remembering. He makes sure I remember anniversaries. He remembers where we went and what we wore. I sometimes remember what we ate 🙂 Speaking of eating… (I know, you are thinking where am I going with this… no worries, it’ll come). Speaking of eating… anyone out there have tips on how to get your family to eat more veggies? My kids are pretty good… but nothing “out of the norm”. No kale, squash, spinach…or zucchini. Which is going to be a problem if we grow lots this summer. What shall I do with all that summer squash???

I’ll tell you what I’ve started doing… I’ve started to “sneak” veggies in. “Hiding” them in some un-recognizable form. Raw spinich in mixed green salades. Squash in the form of soup (which they know is squash soup, but they seem to tolerate). I even fool myself by throwing beets in pretty pink smoothies. Because beets are gross. Consequently, this week I made two lovely desserts which included zucchini!! Yes, they knew the green stuff was in there… but it somehow became more delectible mixed in cocoa… or in the form of cake.

One of my favourite verses is Luke 2:19:

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

In the middle of all the goings on of the Christmas story, post partum, and visits from stinky shepherd strangers, Mary manages to hide away some special thoughts and memories deep in her new mother’s heart. God’s promises to her and all His re-assurances that, yes, she is a part of the plan, and that the plan is good. We, too, are to hide His word in our hearts. Memorizing is one way, but meditating on the verses and seeking guidance and studying are others. Like the veggies, we receive all the benefits of the Bible’s wise words and comforts, when God’s word is taken in and ingested. Perhaps, like me, you don’t like the discipline of strict memorization, and you need to mix it with something…like songs or colouring pages or, dare I say, blogging every week about your latest muse?

Well, there you have it, I have somehow managed to connect scripture memorization with vegetables hidden in sweet dishes. Who knows where my brain will go next, or what “hidden” thoughts will creep out now and then. Why don’t you follow along with the adventure and find out?! Get my weekly muses in your inbox each week! You can Join Here.

Interested in those zucchini desserts? I’ll post them to my Pinterest “Things we Love” board, so you can enjoy them too!

Flowers Near Me

Have you ever walked through a grocery store and happened upon the fresh flower market? The aroma hits you like a wave of spring, as the colours create the canvas for some obscure collage of pastels with pops of red and green. The bouquets all wrapped up in crinkly cellophane or dotted wrapping paper. Buckets of fresh cut stems and little pots of flowering plants. Petite teddy bears and foil balloons with tiny cards to send wishes of joy, sympathy and love. It certainly is a feast for the senses. A friend of mine recently posted that she succomed to the calling and bought herself a potted beauty in pink! A personal pick-me-up, she wrote. So many of us are anticipating the fresh coming of spring, with its hope for warmer weather, fragrant earth, and a blip of colour peeking out of the garden. Especially after a year of lock downs, stay-at-home orders and Covid-19.

I never used to like flowers in the garden. Gardens should be practical. Food and useful stuff. Sure, I love a beautiful English Rose Garden, or a field of happy sunflowers, but anything more than a few potted geraniums to keep away the bugs, and it’s fine with me. This year, I am mellowing. Or maybe I am just experimenting with the whole sow and see theme. This year, I picked up flower seeds. Last year we tried a few Candula in hopes to make herbal “tea” – but the few blossoms we tried were not worth the brewing. Our sunflowers were tall, but few, and quickly eaten up by squirrels.

This year I picked up dahlia and nasturtium (you can eat those…practical!). We might even try wild mixes of sweet pea and butterfly-loving wildflowers. Why not?! Maybe I need to break out of my practical mode and be brave (ooh #wordoftheyear) and try my hand at something “impractical”. Or just convince myself that flowers are practical. Self care, perhaps? A personal pick me up? Maybe these flower fun-facts will convince me they belong in my urban garden:

  • nasturtium, pansies, roses, sunflowers and violets are all edible… as are daisies, dandelions, hibiscus and honeysuckle (Check out our post on dandelion honey… so yum!)
  • broccoli is actually a flower!! (also edible…duh)
  • sunflowers are “hyperaccumulators” and suck up all kinds of toxins in the soil… they were even used to clean up the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima (athensscienceobserver.com)
  •  the juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue
  • in Holland in the 1600’s, tulips bulbs were more valuable than gold

All this flower fun makes me wonder… did God just have fun with flowers? Throw splashes of colour here and there? Add weird shapes and patterns just to be creative? Hey, why not make some of them edible while we are at it? Or be able to suck up some some toxic waste that He knew we would mess up His world with in the future? An interesting muse… and a question I may add to my Heaven list for when I get there and have coffee with Adam and Eve. The science gal in me wants to just look at the flowering facts of pollination and seed and fruit production. But why not make practical things pretty too? Flowers. You’ve got to admit they are nice to look at, aren’t they? And most of them smell pretty good. Perhaps they are God’s personal pick-me-ups, too. Created just for fun, to be enjoyed by the quiet observer who might just plant a few in the garden — just to sow and see.

photo via littlehouseoffour.com