When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Seeds of happiness

I'm feeling very happy today.  There is no special reason why; in fact, if I wanted to look into certain dark corners in my mind, the ones where I store all of the "what ifs" pertaining to upcoming stressful events (like sitting in a court room for an unspecified number of days beginning next week for the purpose of jury selection!), I could find lots of reasons to feel anxious. But today I don't want or need to look in there. Somehow in the past few years, I have slowly been learning that worrying excessively about things that are far off or that might not even happen doesn't help me much, while focusing on what is good and real and actually happening right now provides a wealth of wonderful experiences and feelings. Today I'm grateful to have lots of little reasons to feel joy.

*After three summers of trying to convince Will that riding a two-wheeled bike is great fun (while he tearfully and angrily disagreed with us as we tried to help him practice countless times), we finally had the pleasure of going on a family bike ride together around the neighbourhood this past weekend.  Will flew down the sidewalk without any help, leading the pack with confidence and glee, and I could hear him exclaiming "This is AWESOME!!!".  It's incredible to me that a boy who was so certain that bike riding was an awful activity that would surely result in him being injured, now loves that same activity so much that he asks someone to go biking with him six times a day.  (I'm not exaggerating, either!)  I'm so happy for him that he was able to overcome his fear and frustration, and that he now feels the exhilaration of having accomplished something wonderful that didn't come easily for him.

*Tomorrow I get to accompany Noah and his classmates as a parent volunteer on their field trip to African Lion Safari, an outing we're both really looking forward to.  I checked with Noah before I offered to go, as I've become quite aware this year that the eleven and twelve year old crowd finds the mere presence of their parents at group activities "embarrassing", but Noah graciously told me it was fine for me to be there.  I learn new things all the time while I'm navigating a different kind of relationship with my oldest child, trying to give him the space and increased responsibility he needs while still letting him know that I'm here for him and interested in his life.  Out of curiosity and a desire to "get it right", I asked Noah what he might consider "embarrassing" behaviour on my part that I should avoid while I was on this field trip, and I was told not to do things like tell him to eat his vegetables at lunch or share any embarrassing stories about him from when he was little.  I told him that would be no problem, and then mentioned that if he really wanted to know what embarrassing parent behaviour was, he could talk to his Granny and his Great Grandma Atkinson about the times they tap danced in funny hats, or jumped in the pool fully dressed and holding umbrellas at birthday parties when my aunt Christina and I were kids.  (I realize now that I'm older and wiser that I'm very lucky to have grown up with two such lively and fun women!)  Anyway, tomorrow I will keep my vegetable comments to myself, and will have fun watching baboons outside the chartered bus windows without worrying this time that the crazy critters are going to destroy my personal vehicle! (And maybe I'll tap dance, just for fun.)

*I got our vegetable garden planted this weekend in between rain showers, and under the arc of a beautiful rainbow that appeared in the sky just as I was covering over the last of the seeds with soil. The new beds are now lined with rows for red and yellow peppers, zucchini, carrots, peas, green and yellow beans, radishes, kale, spinach, cucumbers, little red and yellow tomatoes, arugula, and mesclun mix. I've got several pots of herbs planted on the deck now, too, right near the kitchen door. I find so much happiness in the simple act of growing food, and apparently, my work in this area also makes someone else happy. This morning I came downstairs and looked out the window to find a small brown rabbit lying right across the soil in one of the vegetable beds. It was like he knew I had planted the seeds and was just waiting for his lunch to grow! Time to get the chicken wire fence up, I think.... (Don't feel bad for the bunnies, though -- we sometimes leave little veggie garden treats on the lawn for them during the growing season.)

*I have had many, many new visitors to Pocketfuls over the past three days, and that has made me very happy, too!  Apparently lots of people are interested in the banana split freezer pops I made last week.  Thanks to Meg's Gluten Free Goodies board on Pinterest and a very kind mention from Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, I've been able to share this recipe with visitors from all over the place (and Noah and Will are having fun seeing the many different country flags pop up on my traffic feed!).  I love writing from my heart in this space, and sharing the things that I work hard on in my kitchen and am excited about -- I would do it even if it was just me reading it -- but it's such a wonderful feeling to know that people think something I've created is worth looking at.  I hope new and old readers will continue to find things that they enjoy here. 

Blue skies and warm sunshine, children's laughter and cute, furry critters, good conversations and moments spent doing what we love... these are the small seeds that can grow a lush garden of happiness in our hearts if we let them take root. 

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