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Our Personal “Crazy” Quilt

It was an impromptu morning gathering, a pancake breakfast at my sister Jean's house pulled together late the previous evening. The griddle was heating over the burners when we arrived. In addition to Jean and me, attending were my husband and a longtime friend/honorary sister who brought her 18-month-old granddaughter. The kitchen became a hive of activity and the smells of ham and sausage mingled with frying pancakes and scrambled eggs. As I watched the baby, in her highchair daintily eat a sausage link as if it were a stick of candy following half a bagel with lox, it hit me that this was life at its richest and best. We met the call to get together for no special reason but to celebrate this ordinary weekday.

Special events in life are exciting and hold a place in photos and in memory. While we look forward to, enjoy and need them, life is comprised of a series of small, day-to-day, quiet moments. This is one of the themes of a book, Olive Kitteridge by Pulitzer winning author Elizabeth Strout. Whatever gets you thinking … reading never fails me.

So, what qualifies as a special moment? A talk with my Wise Women when I need to work through something. They come, mostly to listen, then advise freely and wisely. The weight on my soul lessens just seeing a problem laid bare. Just knowing I have others who care is money in the bank. Interactions where people show extra kindness are always special and memorable.

How to discover and admire the little joys? Something as small as a photograph of a flower in a garden full of smiling pansies. Like any habit, the smaller jolts of happiness recognized makes it easier to find them. Often, there is no need to go far since they are sitting in my memory waiting to be called up. Dogs always bring me joy. They are a non-fail, generous and reliable source. They are out there and fun to spot as my husband and I do morning coffee and errand runs. Cats seen in windows are a huge plus for me. I try to figure out what they are thinking/doing even if it only snoozing in a ray of sunshine.

I once had a teacher who referred to them as “fabulous realities.” His were more specific and involved seeing contradictions or mismatches. One example remembered; a chubby, greasy haired girl barely thrown together reading a magazine with Failproof Beauty Tips on the cover.

Admiring the small changes in nature as the seasons roll along is another thing worth watching and noting. Anything to do with the natural world is loaded with potential for sparking little jolts of happiness. The next step is to record what I see through writing or making a sketch. Stockpiling and setting experiences aside to further wonder about, expand upon or read later for fun. has a mountain of journals to use to keep ideas. Each is upbeat and fun and share good design and original artwork. Don’t tamp it down when a moment occurs. Instead, write it down and make it yours. Now, what was it I dreamed last night?

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