Borrowed Beauty

Today I have been impressed by the beauty and grace of others.   I sometimes think that is intimidating, but more and more I am learning to appreciate and celebrate what I notice without turning in judgment upon myself.  I admire the woman who gave me a “Thank You” gift for taking her shift at work.  This gift was hand-crafted, creative, personal, AND included chocolate!  Plus, it was totally unexpected, as she had already thanked me in a note the day I agreed to work for her.  This woman took the day off to go to her granddaughter’s school for Grandparents’ Day.  She is also an expert woodchopper, using the twitter and froe like a man half her age.  I told her that I struggle with that chore and frequently get stuck on the knot holes.  This is what she tucked into the little bag of chocolates for me:

I admire my next door neighbor’s garden and appreciate that she shares that beauty with the entire village.   I love the look of her irises, like bridesmaids dancing in the wind.

So, today I just wanted to take these graceful, thoughtful, beautiful gifts and pass them on.  I appreciate all the other bloggers out there who share their best on a regular basis.  Perhaps we can be a more graceful species after all.  

Handmade, Naturally

Today I had an opportunity to get into the holiday spirit by doing some arts & crafts with kids at the Nature Center.  Unfortunately for fundraising but fortunately for me, not too many people showed up this morning.  That meant that I got to play with the materials myself.  I was at the wrapping paper station with an array of washable paint colors and objects to dip into them.  Leaves, cedar boughs, fir needles, spruce branches, feathers, pine cones, sponges and whatnot.

Years ago, I went into the prairie with scissors, came back with leaves and seed pods, spray painted my treasures in gold, silver, and clear varnish, and decorated a mask with them.  That hung on the wall of the den for ages.  I’m always looking for ways to decorate indoors with pieces of the outdoors.  And all for free, essentially.  (Cheap & Weird – my kids’ nickname for me)  That reminds me of the dried macaroni gifts I gave the Christmas I was, what, 9?  Too funny.  Spray paint macaroni, glue it to a box, call it a gift.  I suppose I could get away with it as a kid, but what is it called when I’m almost 50 and still messing around like that?  Okay, call it messing around.  I have fun.  Here are a few examples:

Imagine me gleefully slapping a piece of butcher paper with a paint-soaked cedar branch ala Jackson Pollack!  I tell you, kindergarteners should not be having all the fun.

The best things in life are free.  So far on my December countdown, I’ve received Sunshine (Dec. 1), Fresh Air (Dec. 2), and Water (Rain – today).  Each day I go outside to receive some miraculous gift, and there’s always something.  No need to wrap it or trap it.  Martha Stewart or Andy Goldsworthy, I’m not.  Just a kid in a fabulous universe, trying to stay happy with what there is.