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Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31...No Regrets

Well the blue skies have completely vanished and the clouds have swallowed that spectacular mountain view. But Dracen finally got his pumpkin carved so we now have this view instead. 

While all we are seeing is rain now, the snow is still predicted to roll in tomorrow and I'm hoping it's just enough to bring the magic but not so much that we have to scurry around, gather our belongings and head down this mountain a day early. 

This will be the first year since I've been a mother that I have not gone out on a candy hunt with a costumed boy (or two). That combined with the fact that we are pretty secluded up here made me almost forget that today is Halloween. I did not forget, however, that is the final day of this daily blogging madness and I'm feeling very much relieved about that.

Not that I regret doing it. On the contrary. Making a conscious effort to seek out the extraordinary in the day-to-day routine has been a positive eye-opener for me and I hope maybe it has been a little bit for the few of you who have traveled this journey with me. The magic is always there for those who choose to see it. 


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30, Mountain Magic

The boys are out of school today and tomorrow for teacher workdays so we are taking a little mini-vacation in a cozy-retro-feely house nestled in the woods at 4200 feet elevation. I've been many places in the North Carolina mountains but this is my first visit to Maggie Valley and I swear I think I may have heard a choir of angels singing when I stepped out of the car at this place. Because

The weather could not have been more perfect today though tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and cloudy while Saturday is looking like snow with highs in the 30s! The nice lady who owns the cabin called me this morning before we left to see if I wanted to reschedule for another time but I told her we were actually looking forward to seeing a little snow. If it happens (and it sounds like it's definitely going to) it will be the first time in my life I've encountered fall colors and snow in the same scene. I am beyond excited.

Today though...Today in itself was magical. At one point I was walking alone with Li'l Bit (Charlene) in the woods, the birds were flitting around, the sky was as blue as I've ever seen it, the leaves were thick under my feet with their vibrant autumn hues overheard and I suddenly got those chills (the ones I call spiritual chills) all over and I heard Kenny Chesney's voice singing...I believe there is magic here.  I know he is singing about a place near the sea in that song but I believe there is magic right here in these mountains. Thin Places? Oh yeah, this is one of those.

And when I stumbled upon this mirror on the outdoor shed? I knew it was...magic.  Pure Magic.

Then I sat down on the ground in the sun, with Li'l Bit on my lap, and recalled this quote...

Especially when said dog is wearing her angel wings for Halloween.

To be continued...

Day 30

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writing Anyway

It is now day 29 and I just had to give myself a pep talk (after about 5 million cursor blinks) to push through because I was beginning to feel a bit like I've used up all my words and ideas on this concept of Everyday Magic. One day, about halfway through the month, I did a search of all my old posts using the words magic and magical. Turns out, I really have a thing for it. Never once though did I use it in the traditional sense that most people tend to think of when they hear the word. 

I guess I could have used the word miracles instead or maybe beauty, or perhaps even extraordinary. Everyday Extraordinary does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But for whatever reason, I chose magic.  Maybe that turned some people off and kept them from clicking over from the Write31Days where my little link rests like a tiny drop of water in a great big ocean of creativity and talent, but for the precious few of you who have followed along, whether you've done so silently or have faithfully given me the ole thumbs up on Facebook, thank you. Sincerely. It means more than you know.

There have been some days, like yesterday, when the words just seemed to write themselves. Then there have been those when the art of sharing my introverted thoughts (again) with any and all who choose to read them (or pass them by) has felt like the most daunting task imaginable. Each time, however, after I finally will the feelings to form words and then string them together into coherent sentences that appear on this screen from my own humble fingertips, it brings me the greatest satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. And I think it has been in those days that I've been most proud of myself.

Writing is my outlet and I didn't realize just how much I had missed it for those way-too-many months I strayed from it this year. I found it (or maybe it found me) at a time in my life when the tears were always on the verge of spilling over and my knees were hitting the floor daily. It felt an awful lot like magic (at least my definition of it) then and it feels an awful lot like magic now. It truly is a passion, a gift from God, and even if my words never appear anywhere outside the pages of this little blog, it will continue to be just that. 


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Beauty All Around

It's the sound of church bells 
in the middle of the week, 
a purchase that rings up
to a round number,
a bird flying alongside your car,
the first breath of ocean air
when you arrive at the coast,
a baby's smile from
behind a pacifier.
Or maybe you see a man
with headphones singing and
dancing his way down the street
as you wait for the light to turn green,
or a hummingbird that takes a drink 
from your feeder, then buzzes over
 to the glass door 
to greet you before it flies away.
It's secretly witnessing the sincere smile
of a loved one when they are
absorbed in something they find amusing,
or receiving an invitation from a friend
you haven't seen in awhile.
It's  a 'thank you' in the mail,
an unexpected compliment
when you're feeling blue,
the sound of light thunder
and steady rain in
the middle of the night,
or the look of pure joy on a dog's face
as the wind hits his
face through the car window.
It's wrapping your freezing hands
around a hot cup of coffee
or hot chocolate,
walking into an air-conditioned
building when it's unbearably
hot outside,
 looking up to a pink sky,
a full or crescent moon
on a clear night,
or the heavenly sight of
sun rays shining down
brilliantly through the billowy clouds,
or a bright red bird singing
its happy song from a treetop
 outside your window.
These magical, miraculous,
phenomenal, breathtaking, astounding,
magnificent, extraordinary things
are always around you, above you,
in front of you, beside you, and within you,
 even (and probably especially)
when you are in the midst
 of your darkest storm.

All you have to do is look.

"There's beauty all around you. All you have to do is look." ~Darin Poovey

Day 28

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunshine On My Shoulders

We've been having the most exceptionally fine weather here for the past few days. I thought I had worn my flip flops for the last time this year but I should have known October had one more surprise left for us. Growing up, and even into my thirties, I was always more of a spring person but I swear the older I get, the more and more I love and appreciate fall. Spring is still special but autumn speaks more deeply to my soul these days. 

This morning (in the sunroom again) the warm sunlight fell on my face and shoulders and I got that hugs-from-heaven feeling once more. And then of course I started humming along with John Denver (who was singing in my head)...Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...Sunshine almost always makes me high... 

Then I had the idea to snap a few photos with my iPhone throughout the day of all the little magical happenstances I took notice of. But in so doing, I just kept being drawn back in to the welcoming warmth of that October sunshine and realized that in and of itself was more than enough. So I just soaked it up at every pause and turn and thought, Perfection. Plain and simple. Perfection. 

Late October sunshine accompanied by gentle breezes, abounding trees entering into their most radiant forms and temperatures in the upper 70s, with low humidity. Weather simply doesn't get any better than this. It's like October is practically shouting for us all to pause in our daily pursuits and take notice of the miraculous transformation/show of brilliance that is happening right this fleeting instant. 

So I did; I soaked it up...

And it made me happy.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Power of Smell

I recently came across the word petrichor (the smell of earth after rain) and was surprised that I'd never heard it before because I think most of us will agree that that is just about the most magical smell in the history of ever. I just recalled it again when I sat down to write this post (having no idea what I was going to be writing about again) and thought, of course. The sense of smell is such a powerful weapon that can instantly trigger memories of places we've been, people we've known, and sometimes even people we used to be.

I can get a whiff of an old perfume or lotion I was fond of once upon a time and will immediately recall that period of my life, what was going on with me then and the people who were closest to me  and I'm always taken aback each time it happens. The smell of Johnson & Johnson Lavender Bath Wash makes my heart ache a little because it takes me back to Devin's baby days, and a time before I knew the least thing about how deep the rivers of heartache and grief can run. 

Coffee brewing, popcorn popping, vanilla extract, freshly mown grass, dog paws, and rosemary all evoke warm fuzzies within me, while wild honeysuckle, Play-Doh, and lemon Pledge all bring back the happiest of childhood memories. 

One day last week I was out and had a little bit of time to kill before picking up Dracen from school so I walked around one of my favorite thrift/antique spots where I bought a few very old books for the bargain price of one to three dollars a piece. That old book smell gets me every time. I think it even surpasses the magic of petrichor for me.

Smells just like magic. 

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Positive Perspectives

I had the best intentions of spending my day being productive around the house but after about the 129th piece of laundry I folded, the realization hit me that I'm either coming down with something or the stars just aren't aligned right because my legs are aching, my mind is foggy and I feel as though I could sleep for about five hundred hours. Never mind that I slept until nearly ten this morning.

But this 31 days show must.go.on. Why did I decide to do this again? Sure, I could say the heck with it and skip a day. I'm not sure anyone would notice (I've checked my stats). A promise is a promise though, even when made to oneself, and I do love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I click 'Publish' and go over to add one more post to that working list of thirty-one, knowing I'm one step closer to the finish line. 

There is, after all, a certain magic in taking a step back to appreciate works our own hands have created and giving a little triumphant nod and exhale of a job well-done. 

I've felt it after I've straightened up my closet (for the 6 millionth time) or mopped all the floors, or painted an old piece of furniture or walls of a room, or written words from the heart. When we had the florist Dana used to get tickled at me when I was working on an arrangement because I was always stepping way back (sometimes into things) to gain a different perspective on it. I do the same thing when I'm getting dressed, fixing my hair, placing items just-so in a lunchbox or arranging things on a shelf. 

Sometimes it's all about the way we look at things. Choosing to focus on all the little things we've accomplished, bit by bit, rather than dwelling on and pointing out all the things we didn't quite get around to again today is (in my book) one of the greatest keys to happiness. The good Lord knows I'm a work in progress on it but I like to think I'm getting closer...

Day 25

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Simple Songs that Soothe

I always say that Def Leppard/Queensryche was the first concert I ever attended, way back in 1988, when in actuality that was my first mega concert. The first one was a few years earlier (we still lived in Georgia) when my mom, stepdad, brother and I went to see the great Don Williams. The exact year has left me but I know it was summertime with some weirdly cool temperatures going on for that time of year.

As I've mentioned before, my taste is music is extremely diversified. If looked upon by a stranger, my music library would probably seem as though it belongs to that of a person with a multiple personality disorder because I am all over the board with it. My musical taste simply knows no bounds. Opening up that music app and hitting 'shuffle'  is a lot like Forrest Gump's mama's advice on life being like a box of chocolates because you just never know what you're gonna get. 

A couple of days ago I quickly scanned through all my songs and and made a new playlist that I named "Right Now". Obviously none of these songs are currently right now. They are just where I'm at, if that makes any sense whatsoever. 
In it is Don Williams' hit song from 1980, I Believe In You. I just consulted Google to discover that it was his only song to hit the Top 40 charts and stayed at number one for two weeks. I don't think I'ver ever heard Don Williams sing a song I didn't love but there's something extra special about this one.

It's such a simple song, yet extraordinary all at once. There is just a serene quality about his voice that always lifts my spirits and calms my soul. This particular song has me singing along and nodding in agreement each and every time I hear it and yes, it is one of the many that gets cranked up way too loud when I'm driving alone in my car. I get every single word of these lyrics, written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin, but these are my favorite.
I also discovered (to my great delight) that Mr. Williams is still making his beautiful music today, at 75 years old. Here's a little gem I found of him singing I Believe In You at a concert last year.

Like magic to my ears,
Day 24
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