3 Words That will Improve Your Day, Every Day

Noon.

Six-Twenty-Something, Two-Thousand-and Twenty-One

Do you have any idea what these mushrooms are? I found them and THINK I know, but I haven’t found anyone who can positively identify them for me. So, alas, they remain growing in the dark earth rather than being in my mouth. (And, I want them in my mouth if they are what I THINK they are.)

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Here’s a few more photos. ANYBODY??

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I mindlessly glanced down at my Cup of Earl Grey tea just now and saw tiny, black ashes floating around on the top. Their origin is the campfire by the creek. Note that the tea is just as enjoyable with ashes as without ashes. I could write about it the way we write about wines. A fine black tea blend, with just the right about of Bergamot and an unexpected smokiness that takes you back to childhood memories gathered around a campfire in Autumn. What do you think?

I wish you were here with me, to share tea, to smell the wood smoke, and to enjoy nature on my farm. Wood smoke is one of those therapy aromas for me. I am taken back to a multitude of happy memories in my life, from a young child in front of my Daddy’s fireplace to this very moment.

I am burning the 2020 Christmas Tree. I was planning to let it return to the earth without intervention; but as it turns out, for I needed to intervene. So the aroma of this fire is also taking me back to Christmases Past and Future.

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I have more to say about fire; but, I’ll save that for another post and hop on the 3 WORDS + 1 ACT that are the subject of this writing.

Earlier this year, I began a new ritual. When I did, I noticed that my gratitude expanded, and it became easier for me to live in the moment. I find that I am more focused with what is important. I am intentional with my moments. I place emphasis on QUALITY of life, rather than the busyness of my days.

How?

This change revolves around my daily To-Do Lists.

You see, my lists are long because every day I tend to pile 10 gallons worth of work into a 5 gallon bucket. You probably do the same thing? (Us women, thinking we can DO.IT.ALL.) I know this leads to exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, and burn out, but it’s how I operate, how I’m wired.

3 WORDS + 1 ACT has helped me be more balanced and intentional. This ritual has made a big difference in the growth and strength of my gratitude muscle.

Let’s start with the + 1 ACT. Do you suspect that I’m talking about an act of kindness to a stranger or something like that? Nope, this is an act of kindness to someone you should know and love unconditionally: yourself. 

The act starts with making a list every day. You might already have a daily To-Do list? If so, just add a couple of things to it. If not, start one.

The + 1 ACT is the ritual of spending a few moments at the start of your day to THINK about your day. The 3 WORDS are things that you will THINK about, that you will ADD to your To-Do List.

The first words you will write down is inspired by my Mom.

My Mom is possibly the most thankful person in the whole, entire world. She sits down to drink a glass of water and after taking the first sip, will enthusiastically say, “Mmm, that is good water!” And, she means it every time. My world, then, has always been full of appreciation. But I am more general in my appreciation, never as specific as my Mom is.

So on the top of your To-Do list, before the actual list begins of all you must do, you will write one thing that you APPRECIATE. Something you are THANKFUL for. The thing you write will become your theme for the day and as such, it will the thing you keep in your mind as you go through your day. Like, I wrote “clean drinking water” in one of my previous days.

(And, boy oh boy, you should taste it. My well water is the best tasting water I’ve ever had in my mouth. It beats all those fancy Italian spring waters. Plain, ole, southern USA well water.)

Remember that there should be only one thing on each day. Believe me, when you begin this, many, many things will pop into your head every single morning for which you are appreciative. You will want to list them all. And, if you’re like me, you may feel a little guilty when you pick just one. But for each day, choose only one to keep in the forefront of your mind on that day. And don’t worry, you will eventually name all the others you think about on different days.

Okay, so that’s the first 2 words, “I appreciate ______.”

Why don’t you leave a comment right now, telling us what you appreciate at this very moment in time?

The 3rd word is the first item on my To-Do List, “Fun,” which I follow by a colon.

1. FUN:___________. 

In the past, I’ve allowed myself to have FUN only after I completed everything on my To-Do Lists. It has taken me all these years to realize that I am never done with my lists. I make long lists; I spin many plates. As a result, I never get around to the FUN.

So I made it numero uno!

This has helped me beyond belief.

Now, to be clear, the Fun itself doesn’t have to be grand or special. It just has to be FUN. I also had to make another rule for myself. My FUN item has to be a PLAY item, not a WORK item that I happen to enjoy. Like, I enjoy working on my farm and have a bunches of fun with many aspects of it (like my time on the tractor); but, because this has work aspects to it, it can’t count as my daily FUN. Otherwise, my Fun _______ will always be filled in with WORK/FUN items. But that’s just me. Do whatever works for you.

So, here’s my To-Do List for today.

Date: June 2x (date still escapes me), 2021

I appreciate FIRE.

  1. FUN: sketch in my nature journal
  2. task 
  3. task 
  4. task

ETC….

I filled in my appreciation blank with the word, “FIRE.” I’ve never thought about appreciating fire before. But I do. I appreciate the warmth, the ability to cook food, the vibes I get sitting by a fire, the community those gathered experience, the way it brings out our stories and songs. And the s’mores. Let’s not forget the s’mores around fire.

So today, I will think about and appreciate fire. I will recall all those wonderful and meaningful memories. I may even pop into Google to look at the origins of man’s discovery of fire. Sometimes the thing I appreciate is not just one word, like “fire.” I picked one word today, “fire.” But, the thing I appreciate may take many words to explain or describe. Just remember that it can represent only one thing.

About the FUN. My daily FUN items are pretty simple. Sketch. Read a chapter of a book. Take a stroll. Visit my Soul-Horse, Merlin. Sit among the bee hives in the “apiary.”

However, as I have gotten into this habit, I began adding bigger FUN things. Like, I look an  art class that met in the evening for a week. I began learning to play the Djembe, something I’ve wanted to do for at least 15 years. I returned to writing my book. And I just signed up for a “learn to river kayak” class in July. These are experiences that I would never ever have made the time for before I started adding FUN to my To-Do Lists.

It’s as simple as that. I hope you try it and that it serves you as much as it has me!

I’ve talked too long about my To-Do list additions, and haven’t talked about my farm this summer!

I am happy to report that every living creature on my farm is healthy and happy today.

My horses are loving this farm. While July and August are HOT HOT HOT in Georgia, the horses seem to weather that more than they did the cold, snowy winters of the Appalachian Mountains. Especially my Merlin since he is older and retired.

The indigenous black-eyed Susans are in full bloom. Here’s a wild patch.

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My bees appreciate them because we have entered the season where not many wild plants bloom in July in Georgia.

Check this one out. Battered and worn, but still beautiful and sharing its pollen with an insect. (Insect is not a honey bee in the photo).

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My bees are hangin’ in there. The head of the local Farmers Group came and helped me split my two hives. I felt and feel concerned and ambivalent about the split. Was it the thing to do? Only time will tell.

Here is a recent sunset on the farm. For some reason, sunsets have been spectacular and breath-taking this month.

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Ah, and I found a surprise on my farm. I yipped with delight. Can you see it buried in there?

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It’s a surprise, volunteer pumpkin from last Halloween’s pumpkins. I’m glad I didn’t have time to roast ALL of the pumpkin seeds. Unfortunately, this volunteer pumpkin patch is growing in the middle of a patch of plosion.

I cross that bridge when I get to it: harvest time.

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Here’s to us finding more fulfillment and joy every single day. To looking and finding surprises.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl living in the Country

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Bonnie says:

    Your mushroom kind of looks like a chick that got away from “hen of the woods”. It is really hard to tell without know the surrounding location. Oak trees?

  2. Lisa says:

    My what a lovely post
    Rather different from your others Altho I always enjoy them in the maryjanes farm mag
    I think this past difficult year had been enlightening in that I appreciate more and stress less

    I have a little farmette and although no livestock info have critters

    Right now I’m battling a very ungrateful doe
    Among others of her family

    I put a deer netting fence around my main raised bed garden which is resuscitated from a year off due to a huge tree squashing my entire harvest 2 yrs ago

    So far so good trying to be grateful for every little thing

    This morning my decorative straw bee skep was lying on the porch floor
    I though I had heard bees buzzing but little did I know paper wasps or some such bee had built a good sized hive inside

    Some enterprising beast -I’m thinking a coon
    Knocked it down and evidently feasted on the wasps/bees

    I have a seed business and am transplanting my baby maters each day
    Long story -a friend started them in his big greenhouse ahem a bit late . But they will catch up I’m sure
    They are the rarest of my selections
    My entire business will depend on their success!

    So gratitude is the thought for this month

    I think your mushrooms may be “chicken of the woods” but do not eat any until you have positively identified them

    Take care and remember;” each blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers
    Grow grow”
    -the Talmud-

  3. First of all, Earl Grey tea is my favorite. Second, I do a list of 5 things I am grateful for every morning but I love the idea of “I appreciate…” Can’t wait to try it tomorrow morning.

  4. Danna Rodriguez says:

    I don’t have a farm but would probably have loved it. My dear husband (rest his soul) said very clearly to me years ago, “I am not a farmer.” So it wasn’t in my future. We were an Air Force family for over 20 years. I’m now retired and satisfy myself with trying a small garden and a large weed bed. I am happiest playing in dirt and will continue to do so. I have four furbabies and love them dearly. I’m a quilter and only work for clients. That provides me fun money. I AM a maker of lists and will add # 3 words +1 to my lists. I enjoyed your blog. Thanks!

  5. Kris Thompson says:

    Got to be honest. Because I am always “too busy,” I have never taken the time to read this blog. For some reason, today’s post caught my eye and I will mend my ways. Thanks for the insight!

  6. Patti says:

    This was a great and uplifting article you posted. So glad I read it.

  7. Joni says:

    Great article. I appreciate quiet. FUN: Read a chapter in The Tapestry by Edith Schaeffer

  8. Margaret h Mitchell says:

    The to do list is awesome! I actually have a journal that helps me write things down, that I might have a tendency to forget about. It’s a ritual I try to remember to do, there is no dates On a book of memories I also keep. I add them myself so if I skip a day that’s ok. Life is busy but it’s a reminder that we all need tome for ourselves to regroup our thoughts and remember what we are the most thankful for! Have a great day !

  9. Diane Van Horn says:

    Opening my email this morning and yeah! You just made my day. So glad that your farm is doing well and that you are making time to have fun. Very important to have fun every single day.
    My List, July 1st, 2021
    I appreciate MaryJanes Farm
    1. Fun-Take the kayak out on the lake.
    2. Task-Finish painted boat cusion.
    3. Task- Finish custom order lamp.
    4. Task-Make a batch of dog food.

    Have a great summer, Rebekkah! Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Hi Rebekah! I so enjoy reading what you write and get excited when it’s your turn to post. When our yard gets really damp, those orange mushrooms grow in the moss. Never thought about eating them.

    I love your idea for the daily to do list. I always have more than I can get done in a day. I keep a gratitude journal, but I like the idea of putting a word at the top of my list to think about all day. So many words to pick from! Mine will frequently be: light! Sunshine!

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  11. Linda Severs says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I so agree with you to take the time to slow down and have the gratitude to appreciate all the little things all around us and yes to make fun on our daily to do lists. I much rather start with something that gives me joy or a new discovery, there is so much to learn everyday, to try something new or simply enjoy a garden and see the amazing growth from which you planted, to try a new recipe, to do what makes you happy. Thankfulness is abound if we feel and see it. I live so close to the sea and just do not get there as much, well that will be on my to do list. So whatever we choose to do shine with it!

  12. Nancy Wallace says:

    Those shrooms sure do look like chanterelles! I would be excited, too. I live in the Pacific NW, out here they like to grow under pine/ fir trees. HOWEVER, as with all things mushroom, I’d get a local expert’s opinion before eating.
    Love the 3 words, 1 act idea. I put it in my journal right away!

  13. Yes, Rebekah those are chanterelle mushrooms and they come out here in Georgia in July each year. I was just thinking I need to check on my “honey holes” (secret places that I know where the ‘shrooms are) to see how they’re coming along. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Dianne Beach says:

    Rebekah: I opened my e-mail and there was your message. So welcome. I had a fall (going UP the stairs) and cannot do the (to dos) that I normally do. You made me think about how much angst I cause myself when the housework is not up to my standards. I guess I should just accept that it is what it is and find some FUN things journaling, crafting reading, reflecting. Thank You.

  15. Carol Denton says:

    With one son in Spokane, WA and one living on the south island of New Zealand, I have to say I appreciate instagram. One is trying to stay cool in a blistering heat wave while waiting to have air conditioning installed (it’s in now, thank God) and the other is slipping and sliding in the snow trying to walk to and from work wearing new boots that are obviously too slick to walk uphill. Their posts have been quite entertaining!

    I’m adding FUN tasks to my list. I started bullet journaling last year and it has made all the difference in my ability to keep up with tasks. I’ve tried all kinds of calendars but a bullet journal totally works for me!

  16. Lauri Neumann-Grable says:

    Brilliant!!!!

    Simplicity at it’s best.

    Thank you.
    Lauri

  17. Ramona Puckett says:

    Good morning! Love your posts and really enjoyed this one, I make lists and will definitely include your tips! Happy to read your farm and animals are doing well, take care! ❤️

  18. Liz Olson says:

    I appreciate the warmth of summer!

  19. Judy says:

    Hi there. I always enjoy your enlightening blog. Leave it to you to come up with this ‘Happy Task’ of sorts. I like it. Something else I like…Lapsang Souchong, a black, smokey tea. I love it. You would too if you like smoke in your tea.
    Happy 4th of July to you all! Be safe!

  20. You know, sometimes keeping it simple is absolutely the best. One appreciation, one fun, and then the rest of my mile long list. Thanks!

    Today I appreciate water. With a well anything can happen, and as I watered flowers and animals and the garden this morning, I couldn’t help but be thankful that we have a well that is in good shape…who knows how old it is (the farm is dated 1864) and cold, crisp water is a blessing. Do we have outstanding city-style water pressure? Nope, but that’s just fine…it works for us.

    And the Fun? Agreed, for me, it always falls to the end of the day, just too tired to have Fun, scenario. I’ll strive to move it up to number one, who knows, it may just make the rest of my day better if I start out with something FUN!

    Always appreciate the inspiration!

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