More things I love lately


Seashells: Grace’s birth announcement had a starfish on it, and Whit’s was identical other than being written in blue and featuring a sand dollar. I have starfish and sand dollar stationery for them, and I have starfish and sand dollar charms on a charm bracelet. And now I have them on this necklace, which I can’t stop wearing.

Frances and Bernard: Oh, this book, by Carlene Bauer.  Just so, so marvelous.  I loved it.

Love purely, and take it easy: I can’t stop thinking about this essay by Emily Rapp.  Here, now: this is all there is.  Love purely, and take it easy.  Chaos overtakes all of us.  This weekend I devoured her memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, and I still can’t take a full breath.  And I can’t stop crying.  And I want to hold my children all day every day.  More thoughts on that luminous, honest, heartbreaking book soon.

Three years ago I went to New York to see Marina Abramovic’s extraordinary piece of performance art, The Artist is Present.  I was hugely moved by what I experienced, and wrote about the tangible holiness that exists in authentic presence.  I had not seen this video before, which I discovered on Anthony Lawlor’s marvelous blog, Dwelling Here Now.  In it, Marina’s former lover and collaborator, whom she hasn’t seen in decades, sits down across from her at the MOMA.  In two short minutes, we witness humanity incarnate.

International Women’s Day: These photographs gave me goosebumps.  Especially, for some reason, #17 and #34.  I read so many appalling and terrifying statistics on Friday.  And I realized that my primary reaction has nothing to do with me.  It’s all about Grace.


Moscow Mules: I am not much of a cocktail drinker.  But at my dear friend’s wedding in January, I discovered the Moscow Mule.  Part of it is surely the fantastic brass mug.  And part of it is surely that I was drinking them in the company of a few of my very, very favorite people.  But: yum.

It seems I’m writing these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  If you want to see the others, they are here.

What’s on your mind, your screen, and your night table lately?

More things I love lately

I am hardly the first to note the amazing site The Reconstructionists, but I just love it, so I’ll add my voice to the choir.  The site is a “yearlong celebration of women who changed how we see the world,” and pairs portraits of the famous women with their quotations and some biographical information.  Amazing.

Christina Rosaline on turning 35, which she recognizes as the someday of life.  “This, this is my beautiful, reckless, heartbreaking, perfect life.”  I read this beautiful post in tears.

Meeting Priscilla Warner this weekend, which was an enormous treat and complete joy.  Priscilla is every bit as warm and wise and funny as I knew she would be.  I could have sat and talked to her for hours and hours.  If you haven’t read Learning to Breathe yet, you should.

Maya Stein’s visceral, gorgeous poetry.  My favorite lines of hers remain these, below, but every single poem stops me in my tracks by making me both think and feel.

“The world spins as it spins.
Your life is on that same axis,
half shadow, half radiance
and turning, always turning.”

Finally, my piece about what I view as an essential question: Is my constant sense of failing to be present getting in the way of my actually being present? is on the Huffington Post this week.  If you haven’t seen it, I would welcome your thoughts there!

What are you reading, thinking about, and loving lately?

More things I love lately

I recently re-read Crossing to Safety (which Will Schwalbe’s beautiful The End of Your Life Book Club inspired me to do) and found it even more breathtakingly gorgeous and powerful this time.  Stegner’s novel joins Harry Potter in the rarefied ranks of books I’ve read three times.  It’s outrageously beautiful, human, and honest.  As I get older I appreciate both my own adult couple friends and Stegner’s rendering of the deep companionship, occasional conflict, and true love that can exist between couples more and more.

Between Splinters and Sparkles is one of my favorite posts by Amanda Magee, which is saying something, because I adore everything she writes.  This piece, about the beauty that is right there waiting for us, as soon as we let go of our attachment to how it was supposed to be, brought tears to my eyes and gladness to my heart.

These tights from Lululemon are keeping me warm, even at 5:30 am in the dark and below freezing.  They are cozy and I literally look forward to putting them on in the morning.

Great Kid Books – I love this beautiful blog that is chock full of thoughtful recommendations.

Every So Often the World is Bound to Shake – Powerful blog post by Jennifer Pastiloff about what happens when the earth splits and you fall in.  A reminder that all human beings experience the terrain under their feet quaking, and a testament to the ability of the human spirit to survive and, even, to thrive.

Little Things Add Up – I’d argue that some of Dominique Browning’s resolutions aren’t little things at all (deciding to be positive, getting more sleep, a whisper of thanks and an act of kindness every day) but I love her reminder that every small thing counts.  Getting off the elevator and walking an extra flight of stairs.  15 more seconds in a hug.  Let’s all remember that big changes are often the accumulation of many, many small choices every day.

What books, things, blogs, and ideas have your attention these days?


More things I love lately

Gratitude on an ordinary night – Allison Slater Tate’s gorgeous love letter to her 10 1/2 year old son, saturated with her awareness of all that is already over, spoke to the core of my bruised, overflowing mother’s heart.  Yes, I wish I’d known Allison when we were going through pregnancy together (we went to college together, but did not connect until years later), but I’m even more grateful that I know her now, as we careen into these years of mothering tweens together.

Homeland – You know I don’t want TV.  I made an exception for Homeland, and wow am I glad I did.  I bought the first season on DVD and Matt and I watched it in 3 days.  We then upgraded our cable (don’t watch TV = basic cable package) so that we have Showtime and can watch the second season.  I am obsessed.  This is brilliant, compulsively-watchable drama, full of both geo-political intrigue and profoundly human characters.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Tiny Home – I love this ode from Kate Conner to her small house.  We too live in a small house, and I relate to so many of the things Kate says.  My house keeps me honest and it keeps me neat.  It overflows with memories; it is the only house my husband and I have ever lived in, and while we sometimes wish we had more space or a bigger yard, it really is all that we need, and I like the lesson that provides for our children as well.

Somewhere Else – I am a huge Stacy Morrison fan, and this is one of my favorite posts of her always-thoughtful, always-beautiful writing.  There is so much I love about her writing: her deep desire to see meaning in the universe, the way she can’t help witnessing and noticing beauty even in moments of dark despair, her love of Rilke and words, and her support of women making their way in the world.  In another post she wrote this sentence, which brought me to my knees with its glorious truth: “It’s the humble moments that possess the majesty.”

Glimmering Moments of Beauty – This gorgeous piece by Jana of An Attitude Adjustment was profoundly resonant for me.  I love hearing that others are also routinely stopped in their tracks by the startling beauty of this world, and always appreciate the reminder to stay open to them.

More things I love lately

My friend Nina Badzin asked if I might make my things I love lately post a regular feature and so … here we go!

Instagrid – I love Instagram (come find me! lemead) and think this site that shows you the last set of your images, arrayed in regular boxes, is brilliant.  Such a beautiful snapshot of life right now.  I wish I could print these instagrids every week or so.  Are you on Instagram?  Let me know your name in the comments so I can check you out!

Beautiful Daughter – A reader sent me this gorgeous song that she wrote and recorded, inspired in part by my 10 Things I Want my Daughter to Know piece on Huffington Post.  I adore it; her voice is beautiful and the sentiment brings tears to my eyes.

Carrying On – Every single word Katrina Kenison writes moves me, literally.  Her books, her blog, emails.  Every word.  I’m fairly sure Katrina is the writer who makes me cry – in a good way! – more than any other.  It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite piece of her writing.  But this post, written in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, contained a sentence that made me gasp: “we can gently transform sorrow for all that’s lost into gratitude for all that is.”  This, right here: this is what I want, need, aspire to do.  Every minute of every day.

Giftlit – One of my favorite sites for gift giving.  You can buy book-a-month subscriptions for children (or adults), specifying age and interest.  3, 6, and 12- month options.  A couple of years ago I gave giftlit subscriptions to all of my god-children and other close family friends.  My sister gave one to Grace before that and I can say first hand it was a huge hit.  Books PLUS packages in the mail.  What’s better than that!?

Ready or Not – This piece by Allison Slater Tate about touring a middle school for her 10 year old son made me both laugh and cry.  She conveys perfectly the mix of wonder and shock, of grief and pride that animates these days with children who suddenly stand at our shoulder.  I’m proud to call Allison my friend, and grateful that she is also parenting a 10 year old tween.  This is a new mothering season for me and, I know, for Allison, and I’m so glad to have her wise companionship and counsel as I try to find my footing. 

This weekend, I read and loved The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy, I have Christmas carols going full bore (in my car, which is really the only place I listen to music), and yesterday was among the most technicolor and high-definition days I have experienced in a long, long time.  The light right now is so clear, the world so beautiful, that it makes my heart hurt.

Please, tell me, what are you reading, listening to, watching, and loving lately?