Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Happy cold Sunday from Northwest Arkansas! Since I wrote to you last, I’ve mostly been editing my WIP. When the banker in me says WIP, I think of a current asset, a component of inventory. The writer in me knows WIP as my current manuscript. 100,000 words that occupy my every waking (and dreaming) moment.
It’s fun, the editing. And maddening.
I consider every part of writing a book the most important part.
The first draft? Without it, the book would never exist. Every draft after the first one makes the story stronger and more succinct. But the intimate, exhausting, exhilirating editing comes when the writer debates the nuance of every single word, considering whether there’s a better choice in a sea of words.
That’s where I am now. And I’m obsessed with it.
This Time Last Year
This time last year, my sister and I took Momma to visit her college roommate, Carlene, who lives in Wetumpka, Alabama. Staci and I stayed in Montgomery, saw the sites, and enjoyed three full days of girl-time shenanigans, which you can read about HERE. Since it was MLK weekend, we attended church at Dexter Avenue Memorial King Baptist Church where Martin Luther King served as pastor. You can read about that HERE.
I bring all this up because a) tomorrow is MLK Day; and b) yesterday, downtown Wetumpka, Alabama was hit hard by a tornado.
Thank goodness my mother’s friend wasn’t hurt, and her home was spared. But I’m sure there are many, many people who are shaken up and devastated who could use prayers, good vibes, bright light, whatever you can spare this morning.
My One Little Word for 2019 is Refresh. I like this word because it applies to so many aspects of my life including our home. We’ve been determined to refresh our inside space by rearranging furniture and reorganizing bookshelf displays. Our built-in bookcases beside the fireplace? They tend to become cluttered and crowded if we aren’t paying attention. After Christmas, I took everything off and started fresh, putting back one thing at a time until I liked the look.
It’s incredible how the entire house can breathe more easily with a few simple shifts of chairs and objects.
When you were a kid, did you like to rearrange your bedroom? My sister and I did, and Momma was usually game to do most of the heavy lifting and bed-dragging. Feng shui hadn’t made its way to the Arkansas Delta. (Possibly, it still hasn’t…?) We didn’t care which direction we faced when our heads touched our pillows. And other than the mayonnaise jar filled with summer lightning bugs, we didn’t care about bringing nature inside either. There was plenty of nature beyond our bedroom window.
“Feng” means wind and “shui” means water. (I know this only because the magic Googler just told me.) Now I realize, we had plenty of feng shui all along. Depending on the season and the weather and how our luck was holding out, at any given time we might have a world of feng and a farmhouse surrounded by fields of standing shui.
The moral of this story: there is something refreshing and rejuvenating about waking up to a new perspective. Then and now.
Shades of Green
On Friday, I walked around the neighborhood looking at all the colors of January. It’s easy to fall into the blandness of no blooms and bare branches, but really, there’s so much to see. In winter, the decoration falls away so that we can more easily notice the beauty laid stark.
Look at the shades of green found in moss and lichen growing along brick walls and pathways. It’s there. And it’s teeming with life. Seeing it is part of the challenge and fun of winter.
One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbour 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss. (
Snow Day Recipe
Saturday brought snow! I’d already prepared myself for another missed forecast, so I was wildly surprised.
Our snow day recipe included:
- Two cold walks for Lucy and Annabelle, which meant two cold walks for John and me.
- Reading a library book and editing my manuscript—the perfect day for it!
- For breakfast, I made hot chocolate French toast because a snow day = a holiday, and a holiday calls for something special. I used a recipe from With Salt & Wit.
We received only enough snow to cover the grass. This morning, our sidewalks are solid ice and the temperature as I type this is 13 degrees. Because of the brutal wind, we have snow on our front porch. Considering our porch is raised five steps, that’s a first for us in this home.
Last night, the national news showed upside-down cars and jack-knifed trucks on interstates all over the country. I sympathize with those folks and imagine they aren’t giddy like I am over a dusting of snow. I consider myself fortunate to live in a place where snow is rare enough to be magical.
My questions for you:
1. Do you have snow on the ground?
2. Have you reorganized your bookshelves lately?
3. Do you still have a poinsettia in your house?
Bye for now, my Sunday Letter friends. Stay safe and warm!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. Once again, I’ve barely seen Momma all week. She’s hibernating and won’t come out until warmer temperatures.