Dear Sunday Letter friends,
How are you?
I don’t have to tell you about the sadness in our world right now—the unfolding horror in Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, wildfires and water shortages, surging coronavirus, and so much more—but I do think from time to time we all need to remind each other to look for the goodness growing between the cracks of heartbreak. We should always be on the lookout for it.
Recently, John and I spent a week with our family at Lake Norfork. Being unplugged provided much needed time to rebalance and regroup. If you aren’t in the practice of stepping away from the chatter of news and people and busyness, I highly recommend it, even if stepping away is as simple as going for a walk or getting lost inside a good book.
The constant negativity can really affect a person.
Thank goodness for great neighbors! Going out of town is a challenge for me because I worry over my plants. This year, in addition to the garden, I wondered what to do about the caterpillars and chrysalides in my butterfly hotel. I couldn’t simply leave them behind—caterpillars require daily feeding, and cleaning the hotel is necessary to keep life inside the hotel healthy. In the scheme of things, worrying over milkweed and monarchs may seem incredibly silly, but these interests bring me joy (not to mention, nature is vital to all of us).
Yay for my wonderful sister-in-law! When we go out of town, she always takes care of bringing in the mail and watering all the potted plants (no small feat when the temps are in the 90s). But my caterpillars? I didn’t want to ask her to do that as well. It’s more time-consuming than you might think.
Lucky for me, I have the most awesome next door neighbor who recently moved from Houston. Amy was a middle school science teacher (perfect!), and she volunteered to tend to my caterpillars and butterflies. I didn’t have to twist her arm or anything.
And tend them she did.
She fed them and fretted over them just like I do. She took copious notes and sent me regular updates. Several monarchs and swallowtails emerged on her watch.
Yay for a neighbor who is a nature geek like me.
It’s true, life is a whole lot funnier when you can laugh at yourself. Well, I got a good laugh at myself last week.
We hosted a birthday party for my sister-in-law last Sunday. I ordered four pies from her favorite pie lady/neighbor and was pretty dang proud of myself for sending Evites while at the lake with spotty WiFi. At three o’clock on the day of the party (the designated pie-pickup time), I knocked on the door of the pie lady/neighbor only to discover she had my pies on her calendar for the following day.
I had ordered four pies for Monday rather than Sunday.
With only three hours until party time, John and I scrambled to find pies. (Here in Fayetteville, so many places, like bakeries, are closed on Sunday.) I remembered Village Inn is known for its pies. We rushed in, picked out four pies, and that was that.
Except that wasn’t that. I felt annoyed with myself for making such a silly mistake of ordering pies for the wrong day. And it took me a while to laugh about it.
But as friends gathered for the party, I soon remembered the important thing was not chocolate pie or vacuumed floors or the humidity blanketing the backyard, but the friends who came together to celebrate a person we all love on the occasion of her 70th birthday.
It wasn’t a huge party because of Covid, but seeing a handful of friends we’ve not seen in over a year was soothing for the soul.
And the pies were yummy!
I often bring rocks back from the places I travel. I like to add them to flower pots or arrange them on the porch, anywhere really, as a reminder of places we’ve been.
I brought four rocks back from the lake last week. Lake rocks always sparkle, reminding me of family vacations when the entire gravel road leading from our cabin to the shore always glittered in the sunshine.
We have slick, black stones from our honeymoon in northern California, rocks from family vacations in Colorado, and a few from beach locales. I remember one particular vacation when the kids were young; we all packed so many rocks and shells to bring home we had to evenly distribute them among our suitcases to keep the weight down.
Does anyone else collect rocks?
Book Club Invite!
Look what I received in the mail last week—a handwritten letter from a lady in Memphis letting me know that my book, Gene, Everywhere, was selected as one of their book club selections in 2022!
And she invited me to attend and discuss the book with them.
As an author, there really is nothing better than being invited to talk about your book. But getting an invitation in the mail, handwritten, that included the club’s entire reading list? That’s extra special.
Thank you ladies of the Interesting Women’s Book Club! (Has there ever been a better book club name???)
You better believe I’ll be there, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (of course).
Things Momma Says:
I put my bathing suit on. It doesn’t fit so good.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter. Hang in there, everyone. And, let’s all remember to look for the good. It’s there, I promise.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.