On the farmer’s office desk sat a very creative wedding invitation collage. Four photos in progression portrayed the casually clad couple holdings signs….we are in love, we are getting married, come join us! The accompanying text said, “join us for love and merriment.”
Merriment isn’t an everyday kind of word, but it sure stuck with me.
Let’s resolve to make merriment in our hearts this summer. It’s going to be a short season…weather wise that is. Merriment is not dependent on the weather. If we get lots of cool cloudy days, we can still hike, pick wild berries, or explore some new pasture trails. External factors like weather can’t keep us stuck, just our internal desire to have fun can. Brides will still get married if it rains.
Catching Up with Old Friends
I drank peppermint tea from my friend Elizabeth’s mum’s Snowdrop china collection. Elizabeth pulled out the bone-handled knives that we had scored at a summer auction sale over 35 years ago in Boissevain when we were re-connecting as college friends. Our friendship over the years has brought much joy with sharing the farm report, the urban design outlook, and witty conversations about the crazy things people choose to do or ignore. There was much merriment in a meal of quinoa, based on a 20-year-old recipe. The time spent with a cherished friend validated the saying “old friends are the best antiques.”
Celebrate Loved Ones
Celebrate and show up! If the proverb that says “we teach what we need to learn” is true, then I am still learning to lighten up and make a conscious effort to seek out times of merriment.
Sometimes my head feels like I have written one of those nasty, three hour provincial June exams. I need rest and renewal. I am teary thinking about my father’s birthday in July. We lost dad in 2011, at age 87, in what is termed “the ambiguous loss of Alzheimer’s.” I am so glad we gave Dad a large garden party for his 80th birthday, on the river at my sister’s home years ago, when things were merrier and bright. We created wonderful memories.
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A Bouquet on an Ordinary Day
I usually enjoy cuttings from my flower bed to make an arrangement for church on Sunday. During the Sunday service, I listen for clues and promptings as to who would really delight in receiving an arrangement. I don’t care if the vase comes back; vases are always finding their way to my cupboard, and I have enough to share.
Flowers bring lots of joy and beauty to our life, so “if you have just two pence, spend one on bread and the other on hyacinth.” I remember my mother talking about the time Dad brought her a bouquet of wild roses from the pasture, just to delight her on an ordinary day.
Memories are made every day, so I guess there really are no ordinary days, just extraordinary people who make memories whenever they get the chance.
Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Communication
Mindsets this year will need to shift. Mothers will forgive adult children who disappoint them, dads will offer apologies, and all will feel the lightened load of burdens released. A farm mother blessed me with a journal and a thank you card for helping her find forgiveness in a highly conflicted family situation.
That’s really why my head hurts so much. It is full of family stories, of folks just like me who want harmony and need to find a better way to communicate what is really important in their family and their farm business. Forgiveness, gratitude, and communication are all important steps in finding merriment.
Life’s Simple Pleasures: Singing, Dancing, and Eating
I am also digging now for my King peppermints, another gift from a family who listened to my childhood memory of these wonderful “Dutch” candies that I enjoyed with my teenage camping buddies. Sugar is bad for us, yet chocolate and peppermints have really comforted me, in small doses. This is what Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, the writer of the book “Mindful Eating,” calls heart hunger. Food that is tied to a memory comforts us.
Music is wonderful therapy for the soul too. Figure out how to add more songs to your playlist on your iPod, and crank up the stereo CDs. Let the songs in your heart, become vocalized. Dance in the kitchen while the cookies are baking and make melodies in your heart. Get a copy of Jennifer Buchanan’s book, “Tune In: A Music Therapy Approach to Life.” Use music intentionally to curb stress, boost morale, and restore health.
The time of singing, playing and making merriment has come. Find ways to picnic in the rain. Enjoy your summer, and make it a wonderful season, regardless of the weather.