Everything Matters

Everything Matters

One side of my family publishes a quarterly newsletter.  Even though most of us are on Facebook and can see what’s happening in each other’s lives, some aren’t, and even so, we all enjoy reading what everyone has to say and how they say it.  Since I’m the one that compiles all the news and jams it all into a PDF, I’m the first to read the updates. 

One thing I noticed this time around was that a lot of people stated that they didn’t have any news, that nothing much had been going on in their lives.  This is such an interesting statement because I think that everything matters.  Perhaps what we use to measure has denigrated our sense of what is important to the point that we no longer know what is good and lovely. 

No longer an agrarian society, our very survival is no longer dependent upon our daily tasks.  When planting, weeding, harvesting, butchering, and putting by made the difference between eating and starving to death and chopping wood made the difference between being warm or freezing to death during winter, it was clear that every single task we accomplished was gravely important.

Today our daily tasks look much different and the connection between what we do for a living and what we need to survive is blurry.  As we’ve moved up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we have the luxury of being able to spend our time on things other than procuring our basic needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, and safety.  It’s this gap between the way it was and the way it is today that seems to make us think that what we do day in day out is not worth mentioning.

Let’s not forget that we are children, spouses, parents, role models, teachers, mentors, friends, bosses, employees, co-workers, and yes, even saints. What if we recognized that the breakfast we cooked for our kids, the boo-boo we kissed on a toddler’s knee, the smile we gave a stranger, the employee we coached, the call we made to our Dad, the child we taught to dribble a basketball, the email we wrote to a friend, the dog we fed, the meal that we dropped off for the grieving family, the Sorry game we played with the kids before bed, and the big tip we gave the waitress wasn’t just another mundane thing we did because we had to, but that it mattered to us, to people we care about, and for generally making the world a better place?

Everything Matters 2

Conversely, what if we recognized that cutting off the person on the highway, avoiding the annoying person at work, ignoring the homeless man on the corner, forgetting to call our Mom, not forgiving that ex-spouse, all the things that we rationalize and justify, also matters to us, to people, and makes the world a much worse place?

Would that change how we do even the most inconsequential tasks? Would we:

Be more patient with our kids?

Take time to talk to our friends?

Remember to call our parents?

Drive a little less recklessly?

Exchange a smile with a stranger?

Play just one more game?

Forgive that person who wronged us?

Every day we receive the gift of twenty-four hours.  And what we do with every minute of that gift matters.

12 South

What you’re about to read is a complete and total rationalization and justification.  It’s completely out of character and I’m pretty embarrassed about it, but it’s true non-the-less.

Normally I only go to a donut shop if I’m picking up donuts for my team.  Very rarely do I actually eat them.  Normally I would never pay more than a dollar for a donut. Normally I wouldn’t eat a donut for lunch.  Normally I wouldn’t eat donuts twice in one week. 

That was before I took a trip to Five Daughters Bakery on 12 South here in Nashville, Tennessee. One lovely Saturday morning my housemate’s daughter told us about it and said she wanted to go and check it out.  Normally, I wouldn’t tag along – I have some very aggressive savings goals this year and going out for treats is not in alignment with that goal.  But it’s my birthday month and I thought, why not?  And why would I deprive them of the pleasure of my company?  Plus it’s a family business owned and operated by Isaac and Stephanie Meek and their five daughters – how could I not support that? 

Five Daughters Bakery 1

Five Daughters Bakery 2

The stairway to heaven

Five Daughters Bakery 8

Five Daughters Bakery 3

Love their decor!

Five Daughters Baker 4

Waiting patiently in line

Five Daughters Bakery 9

These are not just any donuts – these are donuts just like the ones my Mom used to make.  They are soft and yeasty and delicious and even though I couldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting, I very much wanted to. 

Five Daughters Bakery 10

Donuts just like Mom used to make

Not even a week later, I just happened to be out having dinner at Burger Up’s 12 South location and what do you know?  It’s just down the street from Five Daughters Bakery!  After eating my Woodstock burger (Triple L Ranch beef, Benton’s bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar, and Jack Daniel’s Maple Ketchup) and house cut fries, there was only room for a small thin mint cookie popsicle at Las Paletas.  But there was no reason I couldn’t get a maple glazed 100 layer donut from FDB for the next day’s breakfast!

12 South - Burger Up

Almost forgot to take a picture.  I was really hungry, okay?

Las Paletas Menu

Las Paletas Menu

Las Pasitas Popsicle

There are whole thin mint cookies inside this popsicle

It’s possible that I may need to move to the 12 South neighborhood.  In addition to Five Daughters and Burger Up, there’s also a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream location and a Sprinkles, where you can get cupcakes twenty-four hours a day from their Cupcake ATM.  I was going to write a little more, but I think I better take a little break and go to realtor.com and scout out my options.  Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about how I’m mysteriously gaining weight . . . 

Summer Needs to Slow Itself Down

A few years ago, a Facebook friend posted, “Summer needs to slow it’s a** down.”  While I don’t normally speak that way,  I totally resonated with that statement.  I’m already feeling it – the tightness in my chest as I look at the calendar and see that it’s June 11th.  June 11th, people!  Whoa!

June 11th

Now, those of you that are planning to point out that it’s not even officially summer yet?  Summer is defined by a lot more than a date on a paper calendar, it’s defined by the end of the school season, the opening of the pool, the first fruits of the garden, and being outside in shorts and flip-flops. 

Whether it’s a throw back to being a kid and loving summer vacation, the fact that I have a summer birthday, or just the sensation of  feeling the warm sun on parts of my body that haven’t see daylight for months, this is my favorite time of the year. 


Why do evil thistles have such beautiful flowers?

This morning I took an especially long walk down to the dam, taking pictures and letting Hannah sniff and investigate every blade of grass and clump of dirt that piqued her interest. Admittedly, it seemed like a better idea going down, down, down the big hill than it did coming back up when it was already seventy-five outside at seven thirty in the morning, but I still relished it.  There was that moment when I stumbled off the path because I was looking at stuff, but it only hurt a little bit and my catlike reflexes kicked in and I managed not to fall.  Good thing I was wearing my Dansko tennis shoes and not my flip-flops!

Percy Priest Dam - June

Percy Priest Dam

All uphill from here

It’s all uphill from here . . . 

Hannah patiently waiting

Hannah patiently (?) waiting for me to take pictures

There are a lot of things on the calendar this summer, fun things I’m really looking forward to that will likely include family, friends, music, the lake, ice cream and other tasty treats.  Yet each activity, each thing that fills a weekend, makes the clock tick faster and I also want to have time for sitting on the porch swing, lying on the hammock, breakfasting on the patio, or reading a book while lying on a blanket on the grass.

It’s hard not to think back wistfully to when I was a kind and summer seemed to stretch out endlessly, with nothing on my agenda but playing and making sure I read a couple of hundred books to earn my prize for the summer reading club.  But I’m a grown up now and that means I have to go to work and cook meals and do laundry and run errands and clean house and all sorts of other stuff that needs to be crammed into my twenty-four hour day. 


For now, though, I’m sitting on the patio, having my breakfast and enjoying writing this while the birds sing, the breeze whispers through the trees, and I practice my new hobby of taking pictures of people who don’t clean up after their dogs

How are you spending the summer?  I’m praying you, too, will find a little time for slowing down and enjoying it!