bicycles.

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

~H.G.Wells~

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Freedom. Like being a kid again, just pedalling, going wherever I wish…

Somehow whenever I push off on a bike ride, I just feel a flood of happiness. That feeling of being able to go anywhere, on my own steam. It’s wonderful to me.

Judging by the number of people out riding bicycles on any given day with even half-decent weather, I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who feels this way. I suspect there are more of us cycling this spring because of COVID-19 keeping kids out of school, and lots of adults home from work.

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Honestly, that’s part of the beauty of a bicycle; this sweet  sense of independence. Without interpersonal contact (COVID), without a team, a gym, a schedule, or a ball, I can just get out and go for miles. I can go as fast or as slow as I like, start and stop as often as I want to, and it just feels so good.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” 

~Albert Einstein~

By the way, my bike was a birthday gift from my husband several years ago. It’s got to be one of the best presents of all time. How many happy hours has it given me? And I live in hope that it will help me build some muscles on my thighs one of these days. It’s got to- right?

So blessed,

Leah

sourdough.

I first cultivated my rambunctious ‘starter’ culture years ago, and it’s still going strong. I haven’t named it until now, but I think I’ve just hit on the perfect appellation for this happy and healthy little creature; I’ll call it Baby.

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This is hardly an original thought, now that I think about it. My family and friends have teased me about my ‘bread babies’ for a few years. I can see why; both are soft and squishy, smell delightful, and are ever so satisfying to nurture. Both babies and Baby like to be touched and need to stretch, and grow especially well when tucked up in a cozy warm place for frequent naps. Both have within them innate qualities; given the right conditions and enough tender loving care, both turn out more wonderful than the mama or the baker can really take credit for…

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When my children were in high school and my house was full of my little dayhome children, I baked 2 loaves a day. At lunch hour, the house seemed to fill up with teenagers who obligingly devoured homemade sourdough bread, helped heartily by the half dozen cute little people who populated it all day with me. Those were the days…

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Sourdough baking is an addictive behaviour, as many will attest. I once saw a man’s twitter account introduction in which he described himself as a ‘pathological sourdough baker’. I could write an entire blog on the subject; many enthusiasts do. But I’ll stick to an occasional post here and there on the topic of my wild-yeasty friends and their exploits.

Again, this is another sweet and simple thing that enriches my life every day, including now, during the pandemic. It makes me happy; making it, seeing it grow, baking it, eating it, and sharing it.

So blessed,

Leah

 

the mindful kind.

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Rachael Kable ~medium~

The way I found this adorable blogger and podcaster is a little odd; I was playing around with possible blog titles a couple years ago, and when I typed in this one (the mindful kind), it was already taken. Thank goodness Rachael Kable thought of it first; she’s amazing.

Since then, I’ve been avidly listening to her gentle and friendly podcasts; binge-listening at first until I caught up, and now weekly, as she releases them. She offers practical tips, enhanced by her genuine kindness and honest vulnerability. She’s trained in psychology, and she works professionally in this field with her coaching business, but she never comes across as too technical or in any way removed from what it feels like to be the one struggling.

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“Mindfulness can be an attitude, a way of living life by connecting with the now and being open and curious about what there is to experience.”

~Rachael Kable, The Mindful Kind~

I haven’t read her book yet, but I will. Or I may order the audiobook, as her voice is very calming, and I love her Australian accent; she lived in Melbourne before moving back to the countryside where she grew up. In the meantime, I just keep following her on instagram and enjoying her short and sweet podcast episodes.

COVID-19 has added plenty of extra tension to life in this lovely world, and if ever we could use regular doses of sweet, calming wisdom, it’s now. Maybe listening in will help fill you up with this mental and emotional comfort food. Her advice is easy to take because it’s delivered with such empathy and compassion.

If you, my friends, would like to check out the offerings of this caring and clever woman, here are a few links. I hope some of you enjoy these little blessings as much as I do!

The Mindful Kind Podcast

Rachael Kable’s Mindfulness Blog

The Mindful Kind Book

Rachael Kable Instagram

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So blessed,

Leah 

security.

We’ve got it so good. Do we really know how good we’ve got it?

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

When I say security, I’m not talking about a security system or security guards. I’m more talking about the comfort we have knowing we’ll be ok for home and food, etc.

Those of us who are so blessed as to be sure of our homes and not worry about feeding ourselves and our families for the coming days are part of a very small minority of people in the world. In the oft-repeated words of Precious Ramotswe, one of my favourite characters in modern literary fiction, written by the brilliant Alexander McCall Smith, (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency):

“This is a well-known fact.”

Like many other Canadians, and people in most parts of the world, I’ve been unable to go to my work since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Like so many others, I’m healthy, and would be glad to work if only I could. But since my employment is on hold, so (of course) is my income. This is a first for me, and let me tell you; I’m so grateful to live in a place where there is financial assistance available through the government to help us ride this crazy wave.

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Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

Because of benefits like this, millions of people who would otherwise suffer loss of homes and food insecurity are able to pull themselves and their families through times of economic instability. We can concentrate our pent-up energies on doing our part to keep ourselves and our communities healthy.

So blessed,

Leah 

 

 

 

this man of mine.

I love him. Can’t help it; he’s a lovable guy. His name is Kirby, and I’ve been married to him for almost 24 years…

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This is us out for our first bike ride of the season, yesterday. It was his birthday! After he finished his work (at home, thank you COVID-19) we couldn’t wait to get out and cycle for a while in the warm spring sunshine. It was the warmest day of the year so far; so nice for his special day. I say that with a wee tinge of jealousy; on my birthday, just a couple weeks ago, the temperature ranged between about -4 and +5 degrees celsius. But my jealousy is the nice kind; I wouldn’t have the weather on his birthday be any worse. I just wouldn’t have complained if mine had felt a bit more like spring.

So back to our bike ride. Kirby suggested that I ride ahead of him, since I am not especially athletic, and therefore a slow rider. He was nice enough to not put it quite like that when he offered to keep behind me. Being considerate enough to cycle at my pace is a little thing that says a lot about the kind of guy he is.

He also has a great sense of humour; this is one of the first things that attracted me to him back in the day. He’s a talented and innovative teacher, and has a way of connecting really well with older kids and teens that seems like an inborn superpower to me. (I specialize in babies and very small children.) Kirby also has a knack for technology. This is something else I really appreciate; he just laughs when I say that the printer and the remote controls etc behave better when he comes in to help me with them, but I know in my heart that it’s true.

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Again, it’s my intention to make my blessings blog posts as relatable as possible. I do realize I’m the only person who has this strong and sweet husband, but so many of us have people in our lives who love us and are always there- for better or for worse. It’s sometimes easy to get used to these loved ones; almost a form of hedonic adaptation… I’m writing to remind myself, and my dear readers, how good we really have it.

So blessed,

Leah 

sunshine for my soul.

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I’ve never been one to go to a gym. Never in my life, ever, have I driven to a gym and paid for a membership, or even a one-time use. This is not only because I’m not especially athletic or co-ordinated. There are other reasons; mainly that I couldn’t be bothered, to be honest.

But then, last summer, we moved to a condo with a nice gym (including a salt-water pool, hot tub, and steam rooms) downstairs. At first we felt sometimes like we lived in a hotel. And when we stay in a hotel, we generally find we can work up the motivation to make our way down to enjoy the facilities. So, naturally, we signed up for gym memberships. And it’s been great. All through the long, dark, cold winter (we live in Alberta, Canada- not commonly celebrated for balmy temperatures) we’ve exercised. More than ever before.

Now, of course, the gym is closed, like most other things. Thank you, COVID-19.

Thankfully, it’s spring. Our version of spring involves a lot of snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures, but I’ll take what I can get. The sun shines longer and longer every day. And sometimes, like today, the temperatures are above freezing, and the snow and ice are melting. There’s mud!

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And I’m so grateful that the beautiful Bow River is just outside. I can decide to look past the thick (gradually melting) ice on the riverbanks, and notice instead the gorgeous glacial colour of the water.

I took these photos just before writing this little post for you, and I’m aware that not everyone has lots of nature right outside their door. While I want to be real and specific about the blessings I appreciate from day to day in my real life, I don’t ever want anyone to feel sad if you don’t have the same good things to cheer your hearts as well. This really matters to me. So that’s why I titled this, ‘sunshine for my soul’. Because whoever you are, and wherever you live, the sun is always up there above us in the sky. Even when there are clouds in the way, and we can’t really see it shining in a blue sky, it’s there. That’s how we can see anything at all.

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Yesterday I wore fuzzy mittens on my walk, and today my hands were bare. Tomorrow, there is snow in the forecast yet again. But, look- see the sun on the water? It was there today, and I felt it bright on my face, and warm on my hands.

So blessed,

Leah 

yoga with adriene.

I’ve never met her, but I think I love this wonderful human. She’s an incredible yoga teacher, and makes her high-quality lessons available for free on the internet. Plus she has a quirky personality, which makes trying to follow her moves fun, even when I can’t always do what she does.

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I found her classes a couple years ago, when I was searching YouTube for good exercise videos. As lovely as it is to go to an in-person class, it’s not always feasible for me. And I don’t feel like I’m ‘settling’ for what Adriene offers. I can honestly say I enjoy my yoga practice more with her than with anyone else I’ve found online, including paid sites.

In a perfect world, I would always have my incredible sister, Sara, here with me as my personal yoga instructor. I like how she really helps and coaches me individually through the poses. She’s so comforting and I feel extra reassured knowing I’m practicing under her watchful eye and nurturing hands. But in the real world, she lives hundreds of kilometres away form me, so this is a rare treat.

I wish I could say I always make the time, every day, for this soul-feeding exercise. But in real life, I don’t. Sometimes I enjoy soaking in the idea of yoga as much as the actual process of moving onto the mat. One of my sweet sisters gave me a beautiful yoga magazine/book for my birthday. Yesterday, I’m happy to say I took time to lie on the couch and page through it, feeling inspired by the beautiful images of calm, mindfulness, and healthy beauty.

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Yoga in a time of COVID19 is especially valuable, because it hits a lot of life’s current pressure points:

  • physical-distancing-friendly indoor exercise
  • free- no cost
  • mindfulness-enhancing
  • no equipment needed (though a mat is helpful)
  • calm, cheerful instructor
  • can be enjoyed alone, or with others

I know I’m not the only one who’s more or less home all the time these days. If any of you are interested, here’s where you can find this upbeat and comforting resource…

Yoga With Adriene (her website)

Yoga With Adriene (her videos on YouTube)

Thankfully, this pandemic didn’t hit us 25 years ago, before the internet.

So blessed,

Leah