“It’s really the little things.”

Today was my aunt’s memorial. She died several months ago of lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking, and it was her wish to be cremated and have her ashes given to the same river that my grandma’s ashes had been scattered in. So we went to the river and had a very simple service for her; just family, the river, and the memory of Auntie. While it was a solemn affair, it was also sweet and not at all depressing. I sat by and listened while her sons and siblings talked about their favorite memories of her, some sad, some sweet, and all remembered with love.

After that, we drove down to Serenbe. It’s a community not far from where we live – maybe a half-hour’s drive – made up of people who wanted a simple, quiet, close-knit life. It’s small and fun and different, and along main street there are shops with the most expen-I mean, adorable and quirky things. There’s a cafe we go to called the Blue-Eyed Daisy, and my favorite stores are Twigs and the Bilt House… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

What I mean to say is, I really enjoyed today. Odd, I know, considering it started out with a memorial service, but I think it was just that kind of slow reflection I needed to start off my day. I noticed all the little things at Serenbe, and to be honest, really and truly enjoyed myself.

(Yes, this picture is relevant. Somehow.)

I savored my peach-flavored Izze. It was the flavor of summer – fizzy, carbonated summer.

I picked apart my macaroon, licking off sticky fingers.

I got used to my chai latte being less sweet than I usually like it, and discovered it was really delicious.

I sat at the table, backwards and downhill, and watched everyone who passed me with interest. It’s fun to note people’s clothes and expressions and listen to their conversations.

I petted two dogs that were saved from the pound; Peyton and Pretzel. Peyton was a German Shepherd mix and Pretzel was a Pit Bull. They were the sweetest things; Peyton was only four months old and I wanted to adopt him. Pretzel had already been adopted and was seven years old, content to just lie on the sidewalk and pant. Peyton finally stopped licking under tables and plopped down with his tail in the bowl of water set out for dogs.

I loved walking through Twigs and marvelling at the graphite carvings you can draw with, sniffing my favorite room-candle ‘Paris’ even though it’s too expensive for me to buy (the smallest is twenty dollars… sigh…), and loving the crooked Alice-in-Wonderland-ish candle holder that I adore.

I loved walking down to the Bilt House on main street with my sister and walking in to its colorful, air-conditioned interior. Everything is outrageously priced, of course, but that makes it no less fun to look at. Fingering clock charms, hand-sewn wallets, and those ugly-adorable handmade dolls. Walking upstairs between picture-coated walls and stopping to read what they all say, and to look at yourself in the various mirrors, and emerging in what looks like Martha Stewart’s kitchen was commandeered by Lewis Carrol and Beatrix Potter.

I bought a book of tear-out notes. It’s lovely. The notes have various pictures and sayings on them in the most artistic of ways, and the notes are scattered around my walls and the rest are saved to tuck into letters and journals.

I loved looking through the little general store, which really isn’t like a general store but more like a tiny Trader Joe’s. I bought a three-pack of eco-friendly pens (that’s right. Eco-friendly pens. Not that I’m anti-green, but…) I go through pens like people with allergies (ahem) go through kleenex. These are pretty and blue and write easily and are only 2.99 for three, so I’m going to buy my pens from Serenbe from now on.

I even managed to get several pages done in Monster – and even though I told you I wouldn’t let you peek at it until June snippets,  I changed my mind and decided to give you a teaser paragraph.           

I know they’re afraid of me. I can smell the air change in my cell, and I know I’m going to fall asleep and wake up somewhere else. Somewhere I hate. And I know I’ll see the Doctor or bruisers, and I know either way it will hurt. This Doctor, the sweet-smelling one, is nice to look at. Her hair is long and smooth and her eyes are green. I hate her.

I have a brainstorming team in Louisianna, believe it or not; consisting of my honorary second-younger-sister Viv (The Architect) and her brothers Paul (the Weapons Expert) and Louis (the Analyst). They’re cheering me on and provide loads of love, critique, and research for it – you should have heard our teleconference yesterday. I only wish my dad’s work calls were this fun for him.

This whole post may seem to have no point to you, but really it does. Slow down. I tend to live life with a sort of urgency – MustgetnextthingdoneRIGHTNOW!!! – and on those rare occasions when I do slow down, breathe more deeply, and observe the world around me, everything seems sweeter and more colorful.

Try it sometime.

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19 thoughts on ““It’s really the little things.”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt. But I’m glad that today was a good day, in the end. And those notes sounds lovely.

    So, you know how I said I was going to try and read LotR? My box set came today! The expected arrival date was the end of the month, but they came today, and I’m really happy. Amazon, you are my friend. 😀 I’d already started Fellowship of the Ring, and I’m about 240 pages into it. I thought you’d just like to know.

      • 😀

        It’ll probably take me a while to get through it, just because I find that the writing style is something that I can only take in small doses. But I started reading it again today. I was about 240 pages in when I got it– I had just started The Council of Elrond.

          • Goodness! And yes, if you read all three in three days, you probably would’ve missed a lot. But then rereading them would help with that. I’ve been slowly making my way through Fellowship of the Ring since about October or November. But I do aim to finish it, and then read The Two Towers and Return of the King, and then The Hobbit as well, because I got a lovely little copy of it in my box set as well. 🙂

            • I read the Hobbit far before I read the rest of the books and honestly, it’s still my favorite Tolkien book ever. I adore it, and it’s the perfect mixture of whimsy, fun, danger, adventure, and short-sword-weidling heroism with a dash of magic to top it all off!

            • I started The Hobbit last night, and I’m already forty pages in, considerably farther than I got in Fellowship of the Ring. I agree with what you say– it’s so far my favorite over Fellowship of the Ring, because it is so much easier to read, and has all sorts of fun little elements in it. 🙂

            • Yes, I think it’s because it was written more for children than adults. (Though children’s books back then were more intelligent than most adult books are now, I’m sorry to say). It is by far my favorite, and I can’t wait for the first half of the movie adaption in November!!

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt, Mirriam. Seeing a loved one pass on is something that always makes one slow down and think–I know I did with Matthew.
    I decided I like that approach to life–slow, simplistic. While I don’t mind being busy once in a while (this week was a perfect example of it) I find the slowing down afterward to be a breath of fresh air. 🙂

    • I prayed hard for you, Heather. Losing loved ones may not be easy, but it’s oddly enriching. One might think God knew what He was doing =)
      I suppose death makes us think, and thinking in turn makes us slow down and stop DOING so much. I agree, slowing down is a breath of fresh air. I know I will most likely have to remind myself of this tomorrow, and every day =)

  3. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man, and the living should take it to heart. That is a passage Solomon wrote, somewhere in the Bible (I forget). I’m sorry to hear about your aunt, but glad you’ve taken good lessons from the experience. I’m also extremely EXCITED about your monster project, and jealous that you have a brainstorming team 🙂

    • Ah, that was probably from Ecclesiastes =D I DID have a good experience, and I’m so glad you are excited ab out Monster because I’m excited about it, too. Brainstorming teams – I never had one before and I love it!

  4. It’s amazing how people have preferences of their pens…but it’s so true. There’s just some pens that encourage you to write. At the moment, I don’t have one. 😉

    Such a sweet post…

    • Yes, I’m extraordinarily picky when it comes to my handwriting utensils. It has to roll and write smoothly, the tip can’t be too big or too thin, it has to be medium-thick to feel nice in my hand, and the ink color has to be bold enough to read it easily (which is why I can’t use the ordinary orange, green, or yellow colors in variety packs because it’s irritating to sit there and position the paper so I can actually see what I’ve written!)
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Mime =)

      • My sister always had a favourite pen, and woe unto me if I tried to write with it. Alas the ink ran out. And now she writes on the computer. I write by hand though. Old fashioned, but it works for me. Even with a cheap and dodgy biro. Still, I do wish I had a good pen… 😉

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  6. Sounds like a good, thought-provoking, slightly-nostalgic day. 🙂

    and on the topic of the first comment thread for this post: Ooo! The Hobbit! My dad read that to me and my brother when we were a little younger. 😀 YESS can’t wait for the movie!! You may know this, but Martin Freeman, the guy who plays Bilbo? He also plays Watson on the BBC adaption of Sherlock Holmes. I LOVE THAT SHOW! IT’S EPIC!! 😀 Although, there are only 3 episodes per season, so it’s more like 6 movies than a show. 😉 lol but it’s so good! It’s a modern-day Sherlock Holmes: he texts!! ;D

    • I KNOW!!! AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IS VOICING SMOG!! My inner (okay, not so inner) fangirl let out a pretty loud squeal when I found out about that forever ago 😄

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