5 Things that Made My Heart Sing

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how to cut back on my social media consumption and still share meaningful, not-so-serious bits of my life. The result? A fun new collection of occasional curiosities posted here for our mutual enjoyment.

01.

I saw the new Little Women movie twice last month. I cried both times. I enjoyed the director’s combination of Louisa May Alcott’s story and her writing. The costumes were so beautiful and the familiar scenery made me fall in love with New England all over again.

“Women have minds and souls as well as hearts, ambition and talent as well as beauty, and I’m sick of being told that love is all a woman is fit for. But… I am so lonely.”

— Jo March
Historical Prettiness — Little Women (2019) dir. Greta Gerwig
photo: pinterest

And, just in case you’re obsessed with the hair styles in the movie like I am, I found this video with several tutorials inspired by the movie.

02.

Liz Vice’s song It Was Good. This was inspired by James Weldon Johnson’s poem, The Creation. Here’s a little excerpt,

“Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in is his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen.      Amen.”

03.

Palm prayer has been a simple style of prayer I’ve been using lately. I was introduced to it through my spiritual director training program. Wondering what it is? You start with your palms facing down. You bring your worries and the not-so-pleasant thoughts to the front of your mind with the intention to release them to the Lord; you let them “fall” from your hands. After you feel finished you turn your palms to face upward. In this position you are ready to “receive” from God.

You can use this prayer practice in bed, at the office, or a before dinner — it can be very subtle and versatile for all types of settings.

04.

I’ve just recently finished (binged) the three seasons of the series, Anne with an “E”. I was skeptical but almost immediately found it very, very delightful. I was impressed it does not turn a blind eye to the challenges of racism, homophobia, colonization, classism, sexism, and other crucial issues. These issues are intertwined with identity, romance, legacy, grief, friendship, and imagination. I was pleasantly surprised to see these topics thoughtfully presented. A must see!

photo: pinterest

“It’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it”

— Anne Shirley-Cuthbert

05.

The last Saturday of 2019 I woke up before sunrise (on accident) and realized I really wanted to drive straight to the beach and watch the sun come up. I woke Aaron up and thankfully he went along with it.

It was a beautiful morning for the two of us. We watched a handful of dogs chase each other and saw some people taking a chilly dip in the water. This small adventure cost a bit of sleep but gave us time together and a new memory or two. Now I’m wondering why we don’t do this more often.

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Weekend Diaries in Vermont

Since spending our (secret) honeymoon in the middle of Vermont, we’ve loved finding weekends where we can visit again, especially in the fall. Peak season for autumn colors is usually early to mid October.

I’d say we are still Vermont-amateurs, meaning there’s many places we’ve yet to visit, but we’ve certainly crossed off a few classic sights. We’ve taken the back roads a few times while in Vermont and have yet to regret it.

Southern Vermont

Hogback Mountain

Initially I wanted to find a good hike in the area (of which I’m sure there are plenty!) but we decided to “settle” for the 100-mile view at Hogback Mountain. This is technically a glorified pullout with a large gift shop. Parking can be found along the road or at a lot just past the restaurant. The view is incredible! Pictures don’t do it justice.

Dot’s Diner

We waited only a long line that poured out on the street. Fortunately the weather was beautiful, sunny and crisp. The waitress sarcastically attributed the long wait times to “horrible food and the worst service.” The food was certainly worth the wait and seemed like we’d known the waitresses forever. I recommend the Berry Berry Pancakes!

Bennington Potters

This shop caught my eye while researching the area and I’m so glad we went. I love pottery and all things home decor. You can browse the shop and take a self-guided your through the workshop! They’ve got beautiful pieces for kitchen, dining, and beyond. I scooped up the cutest dish brush with holder in the signature blue and white glaze.

Robert Frost Stone House Museum

Shaftsbury is slightly north of Bennington a few minutes. You’ll find the Stone House tucked away on a quiet road. The property is charming and well kept. The second floor was closed for renovations while we were there, otherwise we enjoyed learning more about Robert Frost’s life and time in Vermont. (Ask for the military discount for free admission, if that’s you!)

Bennington Monument

Another 5 star view without a hike. (Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking!) Similar to the Washington Monument, you access the top of this monument. The view was fantastic. (Ask for the military discount for free admission!) The neighborhood surrounding the property is also picturesque. The “Old First” Congregational Church is down the street, if that interests you. We didn’t make it there but several other suggested we stop by.

A view from the top of the Bennington Monument.

Readsboro Inn

We spent one night at the Readsboro Inn, which was a great stop nestled in the hills and trees at the bottom of Green Mountain State Forest. It’s a mom-and-pop, no frills accommodation and the only restaurant and bar in town. The owner, Stephanie, is kind and welcoming. The drive in and out of Readsboro is worth the stay.

Took a back road and found a local park with a beautiful view.

Covered Bridges

These bridges are all over Vermont and we drove through or stopped at a few. Pictured below is the Paper Mill Village Bridge near Bennington. I was happy to follow a little trail down to the water’s edge to snap a photo or ten.

Central Vermont

Downtown Woodstock

Woodstock’s downtown is easy to access and similar to other New England downtown settings. Quaint shops with art or boutique items. If I came back I would spend more time exploring other areas. If you have suggestions, let me know!

Pretty candles from a shop in downtown Woodstock.

Woodstock Farmer’s Market

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with sandwiches from the Woodstock Farmer’s Market. Aaron recommends #27 Russell’s Big Hustle. If you want to stay and eat, there’s a small creek running behind the building with picnic tables. A fun spot with mostly overpriced groceries.

Mount Tom Hike

This is a fairly easy hike with a beautiful view of Woodstock. Near the top you’ll encounter some rocky bits that won’t accommodate a stroller. Other than that it’s family-friendly. It took us approximately an hour from start to finish.

Sugarbush Farm

In case you’re itching for some fresh maple syrup and cheese, the Sugarbush Farm is a delicious spot where you can sample all their varieties of house cheese and syrup. There’s a family-friendly trail through the trees and even a small chapel to visit. Originally built by an owner for his own nuptials, the chapel has hosted many weddings. There’s a sweet photo album of all the couples who tied the knot there. Before you leave, head to the barn in the back to learn more about how they harvest and produce the maple syrup. We’ll be coming back.

Manchester and Montpelier are on my list for our next Vermont adventure. And then maybe even farther north.

Any tips for our next weekend trip?