Project 52 #30: Life With a Flourish

On a beautiful day at the beach in which we had the rare privilege of the entire place to ourselves, I read a magazine with the theme of “Life with a Flourish”. It caught my attention, because while I have tended to think of the word “flourish” as a verb, as in the idea of thriving or doing well, the articles I read steered the reader more towards “flourish” as a noun.

Flourish (noun): enhancement, enrichment, improvement, adornment, embellishment, ornamentation

It’s those purposeful, sort of over the top actions in life, those highly enriching gestures in which we above and beyond the necessary simply because it will bring ourselves and those around us joy. It’s the confetti at the party, the wildflower bouquet on the table, the curl on the end of your signature. It’s taking the time to stop for ice cream and sit on the porch to eat it, and trying an Earl Gray infused apricot jam recipe instead of just plain. It’s the back door painted brilliant red.

This was a week that was delightfully full of Vacation Bible School, and sunny days at the beach with friends, and ice cream at Naani’s, and it was fairly easy to feel like we were living life with a flourish. I even had time to relax at the beach and read a whole magazine while my kids swam! But there are plenty of weeks when it doesn’t happen naturally, when I can get so busy checking off the boxes of duty—the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning—that I forget to take the time to celebrate life with creativity, beauty and wonder.

Here is my note to self to remember, and not to forget.

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.

The lines of my boundary have fallen in pleasant places; surely my inheritance is delightful.

You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” (Psalm 16:5-6, 11)

*Thoughts inspired by the referenced Summer 2022 issue of Magnolia Journal.

Project 52 #25: Swimming With Jellyfish

There are some capsules of time that are just sheer beauty and wonder. They’re the kind you always remember, the kind where you don’t even have to close your eyes to remember…

the wonder and delight of tiptoeing along through the water with the jellyfish swirling magically around you and purple starfish at your feet…

the way the waves of a passing cruise ship wanted to lift your feet right off the sand…

that exhilarating moment of plunging all the way in and listening to your children laugh in delight and come piling in after you…

the way your body tingled when you came up out of the cold ocean into the hot sunshine of a rare southeast Alaskan heatwave, and the way that feeling lasted for hours afterwards…

or the way the beach peas were trailing wild over the bleached driftwood when the sun sank to the treetops and you clambered down the pebbly bank to go home.

I think that those of us who live in the places where summer is fleeting are less likely to take it for granted. In some ways, I am grateful that it’s fleeting, because the beauty of it isn’t lost on me and I am not afraid to stop and savor it before the days slip through my fingers like sand, give way to autumn and winter, and are gone forever.

P.S. Yep, we’re swimming in our clothes. When you feel like swimming, but didn’t think to bring your swimsuit, one of the great delights and freedoms of life is that you don’t have to let that stop you.

Also—the clear jellies pictured here are lovely and harmless, but don’t worry—we kept our eyes open for the stinging varieties!

“There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” (Psalm 4:6-7)

On the Second Day of Summer…

IMG_9469.JPG…my camera gave to me,

Two girls a-swimming…

…and also throwing rocks to watch the ripples spread in perfect circles and poking sticks at feisty crayfish.

There was a third girl there, too, not too far to the right, laughing while she spun around and around in a pink doughnut, sending diamond sparkle drops high into the blazing blue sky.

There was also an eagle catching fish, and a speedboat making white wake, and dancing watery reflections on the bark of all the leaning trees as the lake laughed at the sun arching high.

The whole afternoon was a summer poem, properly balanced out with nasty horseflies and accidentally dropped crackers turning to mush in the water and a little more sand in the car on the way home than I would have liked.

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

 

And right this way to The First Day of Summer, just in case you missed it!