April Gifts

I deleted Instagram (and Facebook, and anything else that falls in the category of social media). 

But more on that later.

April is my favorite month of the year. Probably largely due to the fact that it is my birthday month, and it feels like my own personal new year - the perfect time for reflection and fresh starts. There's so much that happens in April that I adore. Flowers bloom, the temperatures become warm and pleasant, trees turn green and lush again... it is springtime at its peak, and I get a bad case of spring fever every year. 

This year was no different...

I loved watching the sprouts for the garden grow. We'll be eating fresh green beans, okra, squash and basil all summer. 

Earlier in the month, I had a moment of clarity, a fork in the road: I felt consumed with technology, social media, constant connectivity. My soul was completely overwhelmed by the constant input and lack of rest, reflection and silence. My real-life relationships felt strained or stagnant, and I had a hunch that my excessive use of social media was contributing. 

So I just deleted everything. Logged off. On a whim, and resolved to stay off for the next 21 days. 

I also resolved to get outside more. To journal more. To be still more. 

I also resolved to write letters - lots of letters. I think I wrote around 30 letters, and mailed them. Good old-fashioned snail mail. I wrote letters to old friends, and new friends. Best friends and acquaintances. There was something so deeply refreshing about the intentionality of writing a letter, on paper, and putting it in the mailbox. I love the convenience of technology and how connected we are to each other, but I discovered that the quick, bright-screen-in-your-face connected was so shallow and fleeting compared to the deep, slow, smell-of-stamps-and-paper connectedness that I felt when I mailed (or received) a letter. I was more thoughtful about what I said, and how I said it. I reflected on my relationship with each person that I wrote to, and felt gratitude swell up in my soul for each and every one of them. Relationships with other human beings are truly the greatest treasure on earth, and I was reminded of the wealth of relationships I have been given, throughout every season of my life. 

I found myself delighting in the small things - the letters and the pretty coffee and chia seed pudding. The India snacks and mehdni with a sweet friend, and spring's first blossoms. Sharing snacks over meaningful work with a dear friend. Small, ordinary things became gifts - April gifts. 

I finished reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and the timing couldn't have been better. Her words and her story were a refreshing breeze over my weary and burned-out soul. I felt permission to create space to rest and to play and to be alive. I began to see the ordinary moments as holy moments. My everyday circumstances became a sanctuary, a place of beauty and awe and worship. 

Morning light on rosemary. Kitty whiskers. Baby robins in the bush. 

The Irises bloomed - my birthday flower.  

I could write so, so much more about all the things I learned during the past 21 days. It was refreshing and challenging and hard but so, so good. I'm grateful, just so grateful. So many gifts. 

So here's to starting year 25 - refreshed, awake, and present. Here's to new habits and healthy boundaries and a renewed sense of purpose in the present moment. Here's to writing more letters and scrolling less. Here's to more sunshine time and less screen time. I know it won't be easy, but if I've learned anything these past three weeks, it's that it is so very worth it.