good things grow

Every now and again, I read words that speak to my heart and inspire my way of living. Emerson’s conviction that, “the more experiments you make the better” guided my college years (& inspired many adventures), Thoreau’s mandate that we “simplify, simplify, simplify” saw me through graduate school, and the wisdom of Goerthe colored my post-grad years, “Never let the things that matter most be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”
Recently, I’ve been living by my own motto to embrace the future and remember how much time I still have: enough time to try new things, meet new people, discover new places, and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
I’ve always looked forward to the future, but it seems even more important to ‘dream forward‘ as I grow older.  The past is important, yes, but it doesn’t need to determine what comes next.  I remind myself that ambitious projects might take a while, but the time will pass anyway – might as well pursue things I’m passionate about.
kiss copy
I’ve gone and done it again — shared many more thoughts than necessary to simply tell you that a Rainbow Rowell quote inspired me so much that I made a graphic and corresponding PDF (download here :goodthingsgrow).  The other thing I meant to tell you about?  The urban flower garden that recently popped up in St. Paul.
The garden uses painted rocks instead of flowers, and a two-story mural provides a fun backdrop for the space.  We had fun exploring the area, and there just so happened to be *free* BBQ during our visit. Fast fact: BBQ is my favorite food.
Do you have any guiding philosophies?  Favorite food?  Have you ever been to an urban flower farm?  Check out The Ink Nest for drawings like the flowers in my graphic.heart

smile on a stick

Candy apple on a stick makes my tummy go 2-4-6.  I spent loads of playground time singing the candy apple song with my elementary school crew, but I hadn’t thought about the hand-clapping anthem for nearly 15 years when it popped into my head today.  What was the occasion?  A rah rah rah experiment aptly titled ‘smile on a stick.’

I just might have discovered the fastest way to make a stranger smile:
All my smiles came from spending a gorgeous day in St. Paul with Lyda Ham.  She’s a talented Twin Cities photographer with lots of heart and just as many laughs.  Oh, and good news — Lyda writes a lovely blog of her own, and you can read all about her adventures here

everybody loves a hero

ImageHow many superheroes can you name in 5 seconds? Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are probably the most popular, but if you ask a true fan like my sister, she can easily delve into subcategories and lesser-known characters until you scream stop.  The popular superheroes tell modern days stories of triumph that resemble the ancient Greek warriors.  Every culture has their superhero because, as Spiderman’s Aunt May says, “Lord knows, kids need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names.”

Superheroes are known for sacrificing a normal life in order to fight evil.  The masked crime-fighters teach us that we can’t save the world and still make it home for supper.  The deeper message here is that fulfilling a personal mission requires sacrifice.  Superheroes are required to deny family, time with friends, and an altogether ‘normal life’ for the chance to save-the-world.

Sacrifice humanizes the superheroes.  We can relate to their longings for worldly goods, and we idolize them for tossing their personal desires aside.  The sacrifice is also what highlights just how dedicated they are to their mission.  There is pain in sacrifice, but there is also the promise that the gain will be with it.

The battle of good vs evil continues today, and opportunities to act on the side of good are all around us.  I’m not suggesting that we pick costumes and superhero names (even thought that might be some fun), but I am asking people to make a conscious effort to act as a force for good.  Think of ways to help others.  Be kind to strangers.  Volunteer your time.

All this superhero talk convinced me to hang masks around St. Paul and Minneapolis as a little reminder to fight for what is good:

maybe she’s a wildflower? flowers for strangers

i went to the farmer’s market early this morning to get fresh ingredients for my supper club tonight.  there is something inspiring about the market — the bright colors, the fresh fruits and vegetables, the artisans and farmers proud of their work.  visiting has always been a source of inspiration, and today was no exception.  after i selected the vegetables for my dinner dish,  i wandered over to the florist to select flowers. i got a little excited about the $5 price tag, and so i bought three enormous bouquets:Imagejust holding the flowers made me about as giddy as my random acts of happiness experiment, and so i decided to do a similar project.  everyone loves flowers, right?  perhaps a fresh bouquet would brighten someone’s day.  i broke the bouquets into smaller bundles, and then i meandered to the park to disperse the fresh buds:ImageImageImageImageImagei would say the experiment was definitely successful — all the recipients seemed happy to be given flowers by a stranger.  mission complete.  here are some other fun pictures from the market:ImageImageImageImageImage