Number 49

Turning Toward Sunshine

When we made the move to 2022, I have to admit my enthusiasm lagged. It's something I discussed with my sweet cousin, Meg, who gently offered: You watch. Unexpected joy will come.

Heavens how prophetic her words have proven to be.

For instance, in late January, I received an out-of-the-blue text from a dear friend I don't see nearly enough. They'd booked a week in St. Thomas pre-COVID, and now that it was safe to travel, would we be interested in joining a few couples there?

Heck yeah! said the Monettis.
our view in St. Thomas
We've just returned, and I will say this. It really is paradise, the Virgin Islands, and we made the most of every moment: sunning, funning, laughing the way only a group of old friends can do. The trip also served as a reset for me, something I notice now, a glorious start to a summer that suddenly feels filled with possibility.
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me and my new island attitude

Whatever your plans for this summer season—I do hope you'll join me in a pledge to lighten, to loosen, to laugh like these are the days.

Because they are, my friend. Sun is shining, flowers are in bloom, and every heart glows as it turns toward the light.


Live Yourself into a New Way of Thinking: Richard Rohr
I loved this conversation between Father Richard Rohr and Jen Hatmaker. A blurb on Jen's website says this: A champion for social justice who’s spent decades fighting for equality, he shows us the way to radical compassion by gently leading us to see the world with new eyes through the concept of “voluntary displacement,” i.e. when we willfully move out of our comfort zones and “live” ourselves into new ways of thinking. This one's a keeper.
We did it. We did it, you guys. All The Seasons of Ozark, a series so dark I spent a great deal of the time with my head down, a paintbrush in my hand as I specifically did not watch so much of it with my eyes but only my ears. And still, somehow I loved it. I mean…Julia Garner, yes, please. (Plus, as you can see, this little watercolor was Day 59 of my #the100dayproject—the Ozark logo.)
Summer seems a really good time for this read, which I found so interesting:
Body Goals Then and Now: Why the “Perfect” Figure is a Total Fallacy
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Hell of a Book by Jason Mott
I just finished this powerhouse of a novel, and it will stay with me a long, long time. There is so much to consider in Jason Mott's themes, described via promo copy as "… at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America."

The book's structure is nontraditional, and still I had no trouble following the story on audio. Filled with love and heartbreak and escapism and imagination—I'm so glad Mott wrote this important novel. I'm so glad I read it.
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One Italian Summer, by Rebecca Serle
Not a five star for me (by any means), but an easy, breezy beach read. Plus the Amalfi Coast. Plus Lauren Graham, aka Lorelei Gilmore, audiobook narrator.
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This one, I ADORE. Rachel Joyce is one of my favorite writers, and Miss Benson's Beetle is funny, charming, captivating. Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, says of this novel: "A beautifully written, extraordinary quest in which two ordinary, overlooked women embark on an unlikely scientific expedition to the South Seas.” Yes, and so much more. 🧡🧡🧡

When You Can't, What You See

I have been recovering from eye surgery, a situation that led me to try painting blind (or nearly so) and a situation that opened a beautiful portal into the universe that I never saw coming. I also discovered—and share—one joyful tip for creative liberation.

~ summertime's callin' me ~

-- The Catalinas
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