A Few of my Favorite Things-June

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For this month's Favorite Things, I'm channeling a popular morning show's "daily boost" feature and welcome you to read on and weigh in

For this month’s Favorite Things, I’m channeling a popular morning show’s “daily boost” feature and welcome you to read on and weigh in

 

 

 

 

As I prepare breakfast each morning, The Today Show typically supplies the background noise. My mom and dad listened to it when I was young, and I guess I stuck with the familiar.

Given the persistent chorus of stressful news as of late, I appreciate the show’s lighter moments more than ever. One such segment is called “the daily boost,” and it occurred to me that this month’s edition of Favorite Things could serve as our daily boost.

While it won’t provide answers to the hard questions that surround us, perhaps it will offer a moment to relax, regroup, and reset. Perhaps then we can return to our day with a renewed determination to make small differences in our own communities.

There’s a lot of truth in this old Chinese Proverb: “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

To build on that inspirational message, I’m kicking off this month’s list with a short collection of quotes, which can serve us well in so many aspects of our lives. And because last month provided many memorable, if not untraditional, moments for my family, I’m wrapping things up with a collection of snapshots from the events that were. ❤️

 

 

💬Favorite Quotes of the Month:

Small steps lead to big progress. Don’t let your plan be derailed by a single setback or a bad day. Be brave enough to make the choices you know are right… These statements capture the essence of the following quotes, which can be applied to everything from trying to make more prudent food choices to being a better neighbor and facilitating meaningful changes in our communities and beyond.

  • “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
  • “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali
  • “What you stop doing is just as important as what you start doing.” – Danielle LaPorte
  • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
  • “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Do you have a favorite quote or word to the wise? Feel free to share it in the comment section below.

 

🌺Favorite Flower of the Month

Annuals

My favorite flower of the month was also random quarantine pick-me-up, which would serve as a thoughtful gesture or gift any time of year. I purchased a variety of colorful annuals and then drove up the street to a favorite local cafe that has been offering drive-thru service throughout quarantine. There I purchased a small gift card to pair with each plant and left the colorful bundles by the front door of several relatives and friends. My intent was to brighten their day with the prospect of a favorite latte or baked good and something to plant and enjoy, but the activity was most definitely a fun, feel-good activity for me, too. This time, instead of choosing my favorite flower, I had fun trying to guess what the recipient might select!

🌼Favorite Tip of the Month

DIY Flower Food: Continuing on the flower theme, whether purchased from a local market or cut from a backyard garden, a bunch of fresh flowers adds a cheerful note to any kitchen table or room in the house. A few tips will help extend the life of the cut stems, like keeping them in a cool place, changing the water daily and trimming the stems every few days. The little packets of plant food that occasionally accompany store-bought bouquets help as well, but did you know that you can create your own version?

The following is a tweaked version of a Martha Stewart “recipe,” and relies on ingredients you likely have on hand: simply mix 1 quart water, 1 teaspoon bleach, 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Though it may seem counterintuitive, the small amount of bleach helps to kill bacteria and fungi, which tend to generate in the vase. I have read that hydrogen peroxide can be used instead of bleach but have not tried it myself.

🍿Favorite TV Show of the Month

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever was created by Mindy Kaling with the intent of depicting what it’s like to be an Indian American teenager in today’s world. In its first season on Netflix, the “dramedy” tells the story of Davy, a high school sophomore who is coping with the recent loss of her father as she navigates a range of other social and emotional stresses. From my younger son to my in-laws, everyone in my family enjoyed the season, which consists of 10 episodes, all 20-30 minutes in length. A welcome dose of humor offsets the heavier moments that are relevant to so many teenagers and their parents, and the diverse cast of talented, relatable newcomers is refreshing to see.

📚Favorite Book of the Month

Favorite ThingsWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was published in 2018, and the poignant bestseller is worth a read for anyone who may have overlooked it. Set in the coastal marshlands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Owens’ first full-length novel is both a coming-of-age story of an abandoned little girl and a gripping murder mystery. The beautifully written tale is enhanced by the author’s knowledge and depiction of nature and what seems to be a clear understanding of the emotional pain of isolation and being unfairly judged. With elements of mystery, romance, intriguing characters, and a setting the reader can clearly visualize, this book offers a little something for everyone.

👩‍🍳Reader Favorite Kitchen of the Month

Reader Favorite Kitchen

With the exception of the plant on the island, most readers swooned over this kitchen, noting the bright, open layout and appealing tile among other features.

🖼Favorite Graphics of the Month

Favorite Things

My boys and I always enjoyed searching for Waldo on those very crowded pages. This edition would be decidedly easier!

Favorite Things

…and this one has far deeper meaning.

💡Favorite Way to Reinvent Tradition

There’s nothing like the pomp and circumstance of a high school or college graduation. The class of 2020, however, had no choice but to throw tradition by the wayside. Instead, they’ve been receiving their diplomas in creative new ways, like a drive-through graduation! The first photo, below, captures a small piece of one such ceremony.

What it misses, however, is the drive we took to reach the diploma-filled table. We were instructed to drive “parade speed” through the designated route, which was lined with teachers and faculty cheering for the students. Most waved signs, some blew bubbles, one even blew a fog horn! All of them waved and cheered loudly.

The end result was a graduation that felt incredibly special, surprisingly emotional, and extremely memorable. My hat goes off to Christian’s school and all the others who rallied to honor these graduates. They went to great efforts to make this day meaningful, and they succeeded. I told Christian that the only thing he missed was a boring graduation speech…so I wrote one and read it at dinner! 😂

 

Graduation

Graduation
Graduation

GraduationThanks to Nick Gould Photography for sharing shots #1 and #3!

 

 

“You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”
The preceding quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda struck me as a timely and fitting way to sign off. I know that many in this graduating class will be strong enough to pull themselves back up when they fall. More importantly, I am hopeful that they will be compassionate enough to extend a hand to others along the way. As Robert Ingersoll once said, “We rise by lifting others.”

❤️

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Comments

  1. Elaine Pennell

    Thanks for the uplifting thoughts, needed now more than ever.
    My favorite quote is from Vincent Van Gogh:
    “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
    Blessings to you, Ann.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Elaine, and that’s a great quote. I’m so glad you shared it!

      Reply
  2. Barbara Umbenhauer

    My heart goes out to this year’s graduates who are missing the traditional graduation ceremony. But then again, they have had a truly unique experience they will always remember. And isn’t that what graduation is about – creating memories that last? No walk across the stage, no hearing their name called, no family & friends cheering. But those of us who had the pomp & circumstance didn’t have the parade speed procession with bubbles and a fog horn. And graduation pictures in the past didn’t include face masks! Congrats to your son & here’s hoping his college graduation is more traditional.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      It is absolutely about creating memories that last, Barbara, and this class will have lots of them! When I compare my older son’s graduation to this one, it’s like the old apple and orange comparison. Though they are in the same category, they are inherently different and you love them both for their own unique qualities!

      Reply
  3. Neisha

    what a lovely thing your sons school did for their graduation . Beautiful family . Only just found your site but look forward to reading more.
    Stay safe.
    Neisha from Cornwall, UK

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Welcome, Neisha! I’m delighted you found my page and appreciate your thoughtful comment. Hope you become a regular!

      Reply