Reverb11: Self-portrait, soul food, ordinary joy (Dec 25, 26, 27)


Today I felt very inspired, so I’ve got three Reverbs for you. GO ME!

I can’t believe how close we are to the end of the month! I hope you’re enjoying this quiet week in between Christmas and New Years. It’s such a beautiful time of year.

Dec 25: Photo—a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Tracey Clark)

I took this photo in the very-early spring this year. It was the first day that we didn’t need actual jackets (it must have been part of a warm spell, because subsequent photos feature the winter coats again…gotta love Nova Scotia!). I took Xander to the playground to enjoy the sun, and I snapped this photo myspace-style.

I adore this photo. It shows me all lit up from the inside. I’m in the flow, inspired by life, radiating joy. This is what I look like when I’m living 100% authentically, being 100% me. I’m a glowing, radiant mama, and this photo captured that.

Dec 26: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Elise Marie Collins)

Today I made a loaf of bread (actually, two, because that’s how much the recipe makes).

I mixed a batch of my mom’s holiday-only Nisu (a rich braided bread with cardamom in it, only I left out the cardamom this time). I combined the ingredients, I mixed the bread with my old wooden spoon, I added flour until I couldn’t stir it any more, and I dumped the dough on the countertop. I set the timer and kneaded the dough, the floury lump gradually growing soft and stretchy under my hands. My mother once told me that you could tell when bread was done being kneaded because it would start feeling alive in your hands, and I felt that aliveness as I worked the dough. I let it rise, punched it down, braided it, let it rise again, and baked it. And as I did all of this, I felt part of an ancient line of women stretching down the centuries, all standing at a counter (or table or stone) and kneading bread for their family.


The loaves baked up perfectly—golden brown and softly crusty. Once they were mostly-cool, I sliced into them and inhaled the fresh-baked scent. I spread a piece with butter, and I sank my teeth into the warm, soft, delicious bread. Words can’t express how delicious it was. I may never add cardamom to my nisu again…it was rich, bread-y, just salty enough, and sweet enough to compliment the butter. It was the perfect experience of bread-ness, the pinnacle of bread-itude. I can’t wait to have another piece.

Dec 27: Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Brene Brown)

Back in October our friend Krista was over at our place and we decided to go for a drive to a playground so that Xander could get some fresh air. We ended up driving out to a small park way out of town, near the house we lived in before we moved to this apartment. I’d taken Xander there when we lived in the house, and there were swings and teeter-totters and a slide.

Unfortunately, in the year since we’d moved the playground had been ripped down. All that remained was a clearing in the woods with a pile of timber and scraps (and rusted nails…not cool, Halifax Regional Municipality).

Luckily, there was still a walking trail that looped through the woods and went down by a lake. Matthew took Xander for a walk through the woods, and Krista and I took charge of Xander’s giant rubber ball. We ended up standing about 10 or 15 feet apart on this boardwalked area by the lake and bouncing the ball back and forth to each other while we chatted. And something about it—about the fresh fall air and the lake in the background, the trees rustling, the conversation, and the sounds of Xander’s laugh in the distance…something was just magical.

We didn’t do anything particularly magnificent that day. We didn’t go anywhere new or have any marvelous adventure. But the simple act of going outside and playing together…it was perfect.

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