Category Archives: Brainpower

What are you reading this summer?

reading summer travel

Everyone loves a good beach read, right? (I certainly do!) There always seem to be a few that get a ton of buzz during the season. For example, I keep seeing Into the Water and A Window Opens pop up on beach-y Instagram posts. And several people have told me they’re packing The Marriage of Opposites as a road-trip read. But there are so many great options out there! What about the beach reads that go unnoticed? Not everyone reads what everyone reads…if you know what I mean.

So, I’d love to know, what are you reading this summer? Is it an Instagrammable title or a little more off the wall? I just finished The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice by Rebecca Musser…and while it might not be everyone’s beach read cup of tea, it is certainly mine. I couldn’t. put it. down. And to me, that’s the mark of a truly perfect beach read.

P.S. I’m off to Kentucky on Wednesday and still can’t decide what book(s) to pack. I was planning to read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan next but that seems a little intense for travel. Decisions, decisions!

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Beth’s Reading List – Too Many Books, Never Enough Time

50 books from my reading list

I’ve always been a reader. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book going (and sometimes 2, 3, or 4). If I find myself bored, and there’s a book around; it doesn’t matter what the book is about, I’ll probably pick it up and start reading. Why not?

Which is all to say, I’m not very discriminating when it comes to literary tastes. Novel, non-fiction, memoir. Give me one of each please and keep ’em comin’!

So, I guess it should come as no surprise that I have a rather VAST reading list. Around five years ago, I started keeping track of every book I read or heard about that sounded remotely interesting and recording each title personally recommended to me. As I’m a fan of so many types of books, and find myself interested in a whole slew of subject matter, that list has grown…and grown….and GROWN. I’ve collected hundreds upon hundreds of titles! So many in fact that keeping the list has sort of become a hobby in and of itself. (But, hey! I’m not complaining…I low-key LOVE lists and list-makin’.)

In case you’re curious about the type of books that make it on to my “too long to ever type out in it’s entirety” reading list, I decided to provide you with a sampling. Here goes!

1. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

2. Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way by Ruth Reichl 

3. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore 

4. The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle, also by Walls, is one of my all-time faves! I can’t wait to see the movie

5. Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis 

6. The No Recipe Cookbook: A Beginner’s Guide to the Art of Cooking by Susan Crowther
Cookbooks are books too! 

7. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

8. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

9. Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine

10. Strange as This Weather Has Been by Ann Pancake
Lots of folks who know my love of Barbara Kingsolver have recommended this one to me.

11. Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert
For obvious reasons. 

12. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

13. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

14. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper
I’ve seen the movie but I hear the books is better.

15. The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship by Rachelle Friedman

16. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

17. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs 

18. Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
I don’t have kids but this seems like an important read nonetheless.

19. That’s Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

20. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
I have a special place in my heart for sports journalism. 

21. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari 

22. Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Thomas Hoving

23. Conquering Chaos by Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra
Because MTV reality tv is my vice and I don’t even care. 

24. Between Wrecks by George Singleton

25. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

26. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

27. Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself by Sarah A. Chrisman

28. The Clasp by Sloane Crosley 

29. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
I have a huge girl crush on this author! 

30. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

31. Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History by James Higdon

32. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
One of my favorite bloggers. 

33. Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World by Susan Silverman 

34. Epilogue by Anne Roiphe 

35. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
STILL have never read any of Vowell’s books and have GOT to get on it!

36. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

37. Ann Tenna by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

38. The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes by Frank Bures
I mean COME ON! Tell me that doesn’t sound good?! 

39. Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens 

40. High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed by Michael Kodas
I will read, watch, or listen to anything about Mt. Everest and Himalayan mountaineering.

41. The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West by Lesley Poling-Kempes

42. I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro 

43. A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran by Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and Sarah Shourd 

44. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein 

45. Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen by Alyssa Shelasky 

46. The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score – From Nadia to Now by Dvora Meyers
For those of us who pretend to be gymnastics experts every 4 years. 

47. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer 

48. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
May as well see what all the fuss is about!

49. Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
Can you believe this is the same woman who wrote The Lottery?

50. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What are some books on YOUR reading list?

Finally – Do you have any of the books listed above? I’m ALWAYS down for a book-swap!! I’d love to pass along a book from my collection that may be on your reading list. Let me know!

Blog Love: I Can’t Get Enough Of These 5 Blogs

favorite blogs

My Bloglovin feed is ever growing but there are a few tried and trues I return to again and again. If you don’t already follow these five, I think you’ll love them too! Have a nose around and let me know if you find a new favorite.

Reading My Tea Leaves
www.readingmytealeaves.com

Why I love it: The site has such a beautiful, calming aesthetic. I could literally scroll through all day and never tire of the bright, crisp images. The posts focus on simplicity and practical ways to live a more sustainable life. Areas in which I’m always willing to listen and attempt to incorporate.

Why YOU will love it: Erin is an amazing writer and photo stylist. [She even has a beautiful book to prove it!] Reading Tea Leaves is a happy marriage of these two skills with a nice balance of writing-driven posts and image-driven posts.

Posts for your reading pleasure: Simple Stuff: Hangers, Floral Ice Cubes You Should Not Make, My Week in Objects Series, Out and About: Seattle, and Habit Shift: Dinner Outside.

And Then We Saved
www.andthenwesaved.com

Why I love it: Budget based content is some of my favorite to read. It might be a strange topic of interest but I always find helpful information and inspiration when perusing  this budget blog. (Plus, there’s such a sense of “we’re all in this together and by this I mean the rough world where stuff is hella expensive”. Ya feel me?) Bonus: I’m a sucker for a great list post and Anna writes some great list posts.

Why YOU will love it: If you want to ball on a budget, and who doesn’t really, you will find some great tips and hacks for doing so.

Posts for your reading pleasure: Spending Fasters SeriesHow to Grow an Organic Garden on a Tight Budget, 29 Ways to Make Money, 17 Ways to be Happier (Because Feeling Down is Costly), and How a Zero-Waste Lifestyle Leads to Saving Money.

A Cup of Jo
www.cupofjo.com

Why I love it: I started reading A Cup of Jo when I was too poor to afford internet in my apartment so I would go to work early to read posts from the archives until I caught up with real time. (I’m nothing if not a VERY dedicated blog reader.) IMHO, Joanna is the best in the biz when it comes to lifestyle bloggers.

Why YOU will love it: The daily content is truly “lifestyle” with a healthy mix of home, beauty, travel, design, and relationships. There’s literally something for everyone! Plus, a great collection of series that will leave you begging for more!

Posts for your reading pleasure: 8 Great Gifts for Hosts, Packing for Vacation, A Week of Outfits Series, How to Avoid Panty Lines and Other Reader Questions, and Motherhood Around the World Series.

Yes and Yes
www.yesandyes.org

Why I love it: Posts on Yes and Yes always bring some sort of REAL value to my life — and in all sorts of arenas too! Everything from self-care to business, road trips to balancing spending and happiness.

Why YOU will love it: Sarah‘s writing style feels like you’re listening to a BFF and not just someone you found on the internet. Plus, the site features fantastic interviews and time-suckingly wonderful link round-ups.

Posts for your reading pleasure: True Story Series, How to Chase Your Dreams Without Hating Your Life, Mini Travel Guide: Georgia (The Country!), 9 Train Travel Tips You Didn’t Know, and My 5-Second Money Saving Trick.

Budget Bytes
www.budgetbytes.com

Why I love it: Simply put, I love a good food blog…and I especially love a good food blog that ALSO ticks my ballin’ on a budget box! The budget-lovin’ nerd in me is obsessed with the cost break-downs on each recipe.

Why YOU will love it: Budget Bytes features tasty recipes that turn out delicious no matter your income. Plus, each post includes tons of great step-by-step photos so you’re way less likely to mess up the recipe. Score!

Posts for your reading pleasure: Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce, One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese, 5-Minute Microwave French Toast Mug, Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos, and Lemon Poppyseed Two-Bite Scones.

What are some of YOUR favorite blogs???

Do you play board games?

A few items on my FIND MORE DELIGHT LIST (namely “24 hour digital detox” and “play a super involved board game”) have me wondering — Do you play board games? And if so, what are your favorites? They always seem like a fun way to “log off” and spend a random evening with a partner or roommate. (But then I forget I think that and just turn on Netflix for the millionth night in a row.)

And what about when you have a group of friends over? Do you bust out a game or just sit around and chat?

In high school, my friends and I loved Balderdash and Scattergories and Taboo. These days, everyone seems to be into Cards Against Humanity…but I just don’t think it’s that fun. Alternatively, I think this game looks promising. As for “super involved” games–Settlers of Catan and Risk seem to be go-to’s but are there others I should look out for? (Like has anyone played this?) All suggestions are greatly appreciated!

P.S. Looking for games of a different sort? I recommend taking a trip to the arcade on rainy Saturday afternoons!

14 Ways to Take Meaningful Breaks

how to take meaningful breaks during long projects

As the queen of leaving projects to the last minute, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to settle in for the long haul without losing my mind. I think we’ve all been there. (Especially if you’re someone who enjoys working under pressure.) The rest of life got in the way in the weeks leading up to a deadline, and you find yourself chained to your laptop with a marathon’s worth of work to tackle.

My secret to making it out unscathed? Meaningful breaks.

Choose an amount of time (like 45 minutes to an hour), set a timer, and start ticking things off the to-do list without stopping. Then, when the time is up TAKE A BREAK (like for 15-30 minutes).

Related: A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17 ]

Below, I’ve listed 14 meaningful breaks that I find helpful to cycle through as I hammer away on a project.

Take a shower.

This is especially helpful if you didn’t get a lot of great rest. Showers are like liquid sleep! Use a body wash like this one and breathe in deep. Massage your scalp as you lather up your hair. Get that blood flowing to your brain!

Fill up your water bottle.

Gotta stay hydrated! Fill up your favorite vessel and take time to drink as much as you like as you stare into space. Feelin’ fancy? Add some fruit or cucumbers or herbs and get a lil infusion action going.

Watch a YouTube video.

Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off for a few minutes. But turning on the TV or firing up Netflix may distract to the point of disaster. YouTube to the rescue! There’s a zillion different kinds of content to choose from (Cats! Makeup tutorials! Hydraulic press! Cooking miniature meals!) and most are a reasonable length. Go nuts for 10-15 minutes and then switch that brain back on.

Make a list of the day’s accomplishments.

I’ve mentioned this before, but a “shit I’ve already done list” can sometimes quell the panic of a seemingly insurmountable “shit I still need to do list.”

Eat a snack.

Go fix yourself something healthy to eat!

Love on your pet.

Taking care of someone else for a few minutes is a great way to snap out of it if you’re feeling like EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. So if you have a pet, go make sure they have food and fresh water. Take them outside to run or toss around a toy. Get out their brush for a lil grooming sesh. Give them lots of pets.

Head to your closet for a costume change.

I like to capitalize on the surge of productivity I feel as soon as I wake up…which usually means I’m in pj’s and then *whoops* several hours have gone by. So a simple costume change if you’re in my boat is to just go get dressed. But you can also change from your everyday clothes to workout clothes if you plan on working out later. Change from uncomfortable clothes to comfy ones. Or switch it up for a change of pace in the aesthetics department.

Handle a “personal admin” task.

You can’t press pause on life because you’re under a deadline. Reply to an email. Pay your phone bill. Grab groceries. Schedule that dentist appointment. You get the drift.

Work up a sweat.

One time, during a looooong (and boring) day of work-from-home projects, I did 10 push-ups/10 sit-ups/10 squats during every break. Not only did the time FLY by…but I was sore as heck the next day. Ha! For a less crazy approach, go for a jog outside or queue up a 30 min HIIT workout on YouTube. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch out.

Have a solo dance party.

Put on your favorite song and jam like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. Repeat until you’re sufficiently pumped.

Tidy up a little.

Just like with the “personal admin” tasks, tackling a quick chore or two will feel like you’re accomplishing something…even when your BIG accomplishment for the day is hours away. I like to do the dishes or make my bed. (Which also helps to make your space feel more productive.)

Chat with another human being.

Working on a project solo can start to feel really isolating. Pick up the phone and catch up with a friend or meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee.

Switch up your surroundings.

Usually if I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to pack up and head somewhere new. It’s amazing the second wind you can achieve just by heading to a second location!

Go for a walk.

Fresh air! Natural light! Even if you only circle the block, you might just have that break-through “A-HA!” moment once your legs are pumping and your mind is allowed to wander a little.

Over to you! What are your favorite ways to take meaningful breaks in the midst of a marathon work sesh? Share below!! xoxo 

P.S. 4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired and Let’s Talk Personality (Tests).

Rules for Female Friendships

Roxane Gay, writer and feminist hero, shared this great list on Women’s News a few years ago. Have you read it? It outlines the rules for female friendships and offers a healthy dose of reality for those folks who believe, for whatever reason, that lady-friends need to be competitive and catty. These rules, especially, are such important reminders…


2.
A lot of ink is given over to mythologizing female friendships as curious, fragile relationships that are always intensely fraught. Stop reading writing that encourages this mythology.

5.
Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.
5A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1.
5B. If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.

12.
If a friend sends a crazy email needing reassurance about love, life, family, or work, respond accordingly and in a timely manner even if it is just to say, “GIRL, I hear you.” If a friend sends you like 30 crazy emails needing reassurance about the same damn shit, be patient because one day that’s going to be you tearing up Gmail with your drama.


Don’t you love that?  Rule 5B reminds me of Ann Friedman’s Shine Theory (“Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.“) With these rules and theory in mind —

What female friendship can you work on today? What powerful lady can you welcome to your circle? LET’S SHINE, Y’ALL! 

Check out these books by Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist, An Untamed State, and Difficult Women. Listen to Call Your Girlfriend – a podcast for long-distance besties – hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow.

P.S. Other fabulous ladies I’ve blogged about — Naomi Shihab Nye and Corita Kent.

Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

the-newlywedsIn light of the recent immigration ban, reading stories of those who have navigated across cultures to a new life in the United States seems even more important. Even when those stories appear in the novel you turn to when you need a break from the world.

Stories, like the one found in The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger, humanize the immigrant experience. The book follows Amina Mazid who leaves her home in Bangladesh for a new life in New York. While her story is not one of religious persecution or civil war, she is in search of happiness. A different happiness than what she can find in Bangladesh. The same happiness so many are seeking when they step onto American soil. But like the immigrants before (and after) her, Amina must carve out a space for herself amidst her American reality and the other happiness she knew before. A home she can never forget.

Amina Mazid is twenty-four when she moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is the twenty-first century: she is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online.
 
For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life for her and her parents, as well as a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when Amina returns to Bangladesh that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together.

At it’s core, this book is a rather nuanced portrait of a young woman’s transition from one culture to another. This theme reminded me of another great book, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. And I think fan’s of Lahiri’s work will also find value in picking up a copy of The Newlyweds.

Freudenberger shows an immense depth of knowledge about Bangladesh, it’s culture, and Islam. The acknowledgements section of the book makes it clear that she did her research by way of extensive interviews and immersive travel to the country itself. (Even more amazing? This research, and the subsequent novel, was inspired by a Bangladeshi woman Freudenberger met on a plane! #talktostrangers)

However, there is a note of inauthenticity to the story, most notably the character of Amina herself. Freudenberger explains the duality that I’m sure many immigrants experience…

“[Amina] had thought that she’d been born with a soul whose thoughts were in no particular dialect, and she’d imagined that, when she married, her husband would be able to recognize this deep part of herself. Of course she hadn’t counted on her husband being a foreigner…In a way, George had created her American self, and so it made sense that it was the only one he would see.”

And perhaps it is this duality, which Freudenberger explains but hasn’t experienced, that makes Amina’s character lack just an inkling of depth. Because, at the end of the day, Amina’s husband George didn’t create her American self, the author did.

The story itself is captivating and full of suspense. It is an entertaining depiction of the effects of honesty (or lack thereof) on relationships and navigating cross-cultural experiences. Check it out! 

Have you read The Newlyweds? Would you? Let me know below!

P.S. Books to read if you love the Commonwealth and a book I could NOT put down.

Books I Read and Loved in 2016

_m-drbinfa4-eli-francis

As I explained in this post, I’ve been tracking my reading on a spreadsheet in an effort to diversify the genres and voices I consume, as well as quell my own curiosity about the ebbs and flows of my changing tastes and obsessions. The resulting data was interesting and I had fun recording lots of details for my future-self to cull through. (Full-disclosure: By the 4th quarter of the year I was much less thorough in my approach. Something to work on in 2017!)

For those of you who might be interested, I’ve used the aforementioned spreadsheet to compile a list of the books I read and loved in 2016.

  1. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (On the blog HERE.)
  2. Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman
  3. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom – So gripping! (On the blog HERE.)
  4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Better than the movie. (On the blog HERE.)
  5. Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward
  6. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo – A fascinating look at a society not often discussed. (On the blog HERE.)
  7. How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
  8. Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine (On the blog HERE.)
  9. The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler
  10. January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her by Michael Schofield
  11. Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home by Leah Lax – A triumphant memoir. (On the blog HERE.)
  12. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay (On the blog HERE.)
  13. Chef by Jaspreet Singh
  14. Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace – A cross between two of my favorite movies: A League of Their Own and Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. (On the blog HERE.)
  15. A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
  16. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  17. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Tears galore!
  18. The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein (On the blog HERE.)
  19. Crush It! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
  20. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson – A must-read if you enjoy true-crime and American history. (On the blog HERE.)
  21. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
  22. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer – There just aren’t enough books about Himalayan mountaineering to satisfy my strange obsession.  (On the blog HERE.)
  23. The Book of Ayurveda by Judith H. Morrison
  24. The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet by Dara-Lynn Weiss
  25. Grace by Grace Coddington – Spirit animal.
  26. Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives by Hoda Kotb (On the blog HERE.)
  27. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – YA Fiction at it’s finest.
  28. Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee by Hoda Kotb – I was having a bit of a Hoda moment. 
  29. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi (On the blog HERE.)
  30. The Last Undercover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil by Bob Hamer
  31. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I kicked off my mission to re-read the Little House books.
  32. About Alice by Calvin Trillin
  33. Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang – Hilarious!
  34. The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker
  35. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Now it’s time to set up my spreadsheet for 2017!

What books did YOU read and love in 2016? Share below…and who knows! Maybe they’ll end up on my list next year. 

Wild Things

fiu-nature-preserve

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

(Photo taken at the F.I.U. Nature Preserve during a much needed rest amidst wild things. Read more HERE.)